skip to content

Faculty of Economics

Journal Cover

Onatski, A. and Wang, C.

Alternative Asymptotics for Cointegration Tests in Large VARs

Econometrica

Vol. 86(4) pp. 1465-1478 (2018)

Abstract: Johansen’s (1988, 1991) likelihood ratio test for cointegration rank of a Gaussian VAR depends only on the squared sample canonical correlations between current changes and past levels of a simple transformation of the data. We study the asymptotic behavior of the empirical distribution of those squared canonical correlations when the number of observations and the dimensionality of the VAR diverge to infinity simultaneously and proportionally. We find that the distribution almost surely weakly converges to the socalled Wachter distribution. This finding provides a theoretical explanation for the observed tendency of Johansen’s test to find “spurious cointegration”. It also sheds light on the workings and limitations of the Bartlett correction approach to the over-rejection problem. We propose a simple graphical device, similar to the scree plot, for a preliminary assessment of cointegration in high-dimensional VARs.

Keywords: High‐dimensional, VAR cointegration tests, canonical correlations, empirical distribution, Wachter distribution

Author links: Alexey Onatskiy  

Publisher's Link: https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA14649



Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Alternative Asymptotics for Cointegration Tests in Large VARs, Onatski, A. and Wang, C., (2016)

Papers and Publications



Recent Publications


Elliott, M., Golub, B. and Leduc, M. V. Supply Network Formation and Fragility American Economic Review [2022]

Bhattacharya, D., Dupas, P. and Kanaya, S. Demand and Welfare Analysis in Discrete Choice Models with Social Interactions Review of Economic Studies, accepted [2023]

Ascari, G. and Haber, T. Non-Linearities, State-Dependent Prices and the Transmission Mechanism of Monetary Policy The Economic Journal [2022]

Carneiro, P., Liu, K. and Salvanes, K. G. The Supply of Skill and Endogenous Technical Change: Evidence from a College Expansion Reform Journal of the European Economic Association, accepted [2022]