Local Asymptotic Equivalence of the Bai and Ng (2004) and Moon and Perron (2004) Frameworks for Panel Unit Root Testing

Oliver Wichert, I. Gaia Becheri, Feike C. Drost, Ramon van den Akker

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This paper considers unit-root tests in large n and large T heterogeneous panels with cross-sectional dependence generated by unobserved factors. We reconsider the two prevalent approaches in the literature, that of Moon and Perron (2004) and the PANIC setup proposed in Bai and Ng (2004). While these have been considered as completely different setups, we show that, in case of Gaussian innovations, the frameworks are asymptotically equivalent in the sense that both experiments are locally asymptotically normal (LAN) with the same central sequence. Using Le Cam's theory of statistical experiments we determine the local asymptotic power envelope and derive an optimal test jointly in both setups. We show that the popular Moon and Perron (2004) and Bai and Ng (2010) tests only attain the power envelope in case there is no heterogeneity in the long-run variance of the idiosyncratic components. The new test is asymptotically uniformly most powerful irrespective of possible heterogeneity. Moreover, it turns out that for any test, satisfying a mild regularity condition, the size and local asymptotic power are the same under both data generating processes. Thus, applied researchers do not need to decide on one of the two frameworks to conduct unit root tests. Monte-Carlo simulations corroborate our asymptotic results and document significant gains in finite-sample power if the variances of the idiosyncratic shocks differ substantially among the cross sectional units.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIthaca
Number of pages70
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Publication series



  • unit root
  • local asymtotic normality
  • limit experiment
  • asymptotic power envelope
  • factor model
  • local-to-unity asymptotics
  • cross-sectional dependence


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