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.
We investigate the properties of Johansen's (1988, 1991) maximum eigenvalue and trace tests for cointegration under the empirically relevant situation of near-integrated variables. Using Monte Carlo techniques, we show that in a system with near-integrated variables, the probability of reaching an erroneous conclusion regarding the cointegrating rank of the system is generally substantially higher than the nominal size. The risk of concluding that completely unrelated series are cointegrated is therefore non-negligible. The spurious rejection rate can be reduced by performing additional tests of restrictions on the cointegrating vector(s), although it is still substantially larger than the nominal size.