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First Difference Maximum Likelihood (FDML) seems an attractive estimation methodology in dynamic panel data modeling because differencing eliminates fixed effects and, in the case of a unit root, differencing transforms the data to stationarity, thereby addressing both incidental parameter problems and the possible effects of nonstationarity. This paper draws attention to certain pathologies that arise in the use of FDML that have gone unnoticed in the literature and that affect both finite sample performance and asymptotics.
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