The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper develops a simple methodology to test for asset integration, and applies it within and between American stock markets. Our technique relies on estimating and comparing expected risk-free rates across assets. Expected risk-free rates are allowed to vary freely over time, constrained only by the fact that they must be equal across (risk-adjusted) assets in well integrated markets. Assets are allowed to have standard risk characteristics, and are constrained by a factor model of covariances over short time periods. We find that implied expected risk-free rates vary dramatically over time, unlike short interest rates. Further, internal integration in the S&P 500 market is never rejected and is generally not rejected in the NASDAQ. Integration between the NASDAQ and the S&P, however, is always rejected dramatically.