IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Factor recovery by principal axis factoring and maximum likelihood factor analysis as a function of factor pattern and sample size

Listed author(s):
  • J. C.F. de Winter
  • D. Dodou
Registered author(s):

    Principal axis factoring (PAF) and maximum likelihood factor analysis (MLFA) are two of the most popular estimation methods in exploratory factor analysis. It is known that PAF is better able to recover weak factors and that the maximum likelihood estimator is asymptotically efficient. However, there is almost no evidence regarding which method should be preferred for different types of factor patterns and sample sizes. Simulations were conducted to investigate factor recovery by PAF and MLFA for distortions of ideal simple structure and sample sizes between 25 and 5000. Results showed that PAF is preferred for population solutions with few indicators per factor and for overextraction. MLFA outperformed PAF in cases of unequal loadings within factors and for underextraction. It was further shown that PAF and MLFA do not always converge with increasing sample size. The simulation findings were confirmed by an empirical study as well as by a classic plasmode, Thurstone's box problem. The present results are of practical value for factor analysts.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Applied Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 695-710

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:japsta:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:695-710
    DOI: 10.1080/02664763.2011.610445
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:japsta:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:695-710. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.