Simon Reese, University of Southern California

“The Incidental Parameters Problem in Testing for Remaining Cross-section Correlation”

In this paper we consider the properties of the Pesaran (2004, 2015) CD test for cross-section correlation when applied to residuals obtained from panel data models with many estimated parameters.

We show that the presence of period-specific parameters leads the CD test statistic to diverge as the length of the time dimension of the sample grows. This result holds even if cross-section dependence is correctly accounted for and hence constitutes an example of the Incidental Parameters Problem.

The relevance of this problem is investigated both for the classical Time Fixed Effects estimator as well as the Common Correlated Effects estimator of Pesaran (2006). We discuss approaches for re-establishing standard normal inference under the null hypothesis. Given the widespread use of the CD test statistic to test for remaining cross-section correlation, our results have far reaching implications for empirical researchers.

Contact person: Henrik Hansen