This paper analyzes the role of initialization when testing for a unit root in panel data, an issue that has received surprisingly little attention in the literature. In fact, most studies assume that the initial value is either zero or bounded. As a response to this, the current paper considers a model in which the initialization is in the past, which is shown to have several distinctive features that makes it attractive, even in comparison to the common time series practice of making the initial value a draw from its unconditional distribution under the stationary alternative. The results have implications not only for theory, but also for applied work. In particular, and in contrast to the time series case, in panels the effect of the initialization need not be negative but can actually lead to improved test performance.
Field of Research
150202 Financial Econometrics
Socio Economic Objective
919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified
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