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Improved Tests for Stock Return Predictability

Harvey, David I.; Leybourne, Stephen J.; Taylor, A.M. Robert


A.M. Robert Taylor


Predictive regression methods are widely used to examine the predictability of (excess) stock returns by lagged financial variables characterised by unknown degrees of persistence and endogeneity. We develop a new hybrid test for predictability in these circumstances based on simple regression t-statistics. Where the predictor is endogenous, the optimal, but infeasible, test for predictability is based on the t-statistic on the lagged predictor in the basic predictive regression augmented with the current period innovation driving the predictor. We propose a feasible version of this augmented test, designed for the case where the predictor is an endogenous near-unit root process, using a GLS-based estimate of the innovation used in the infeasible test regression. The limiting null distribution of this statistic depends on both the endogeneity correlation parameter and the local-to-unity parameter characterising the predictor. A method for obtaining asymptotic critical values is discussed and response surfaces are provided. We compare the asymptotic power properties of the feasible augmented test with those of a (non-augmented) t-test recently considered in Harvey et al. (2021) and show that the augmented test is more powerful in the strongly persistent predictor case. We then propose using a weighted combination of the augmented statistic and the t-statistic of Harvey et al. (2021), where the weights are obtained using the p-values from a unit root test on the predictor. We find this can further improve asymptotic power in cases where the predictor has persistence at or close to that of a unit root process. Our final hybrid testing procedure then embeds the weighted statistic within a switching-based procedure which makes use of a standard predictive regression t-test, compared with standard normal critical values, when there is evidence for the predictor being weakly persistent. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that overall our new hybrid test displays superior finite sample performance to comparable extant tests.


Harvey, D. I., Leybourne, S. J., & Taylor, A. R. (in press). Improved Tests for Stock Return Predictability. Econometric Reviews,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 6, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2023
Journal Econometric Reviews
Print ISSN 0747-4938
Electronic ISSN 1532-4168
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords predictive regression; augmented regression; persistence; endogeneity; weighted statistics
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