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A criterion for the number of factors


  • Ard H. J. den Reijer
  • Jan P. A. M. Jacobs
  • Pieter W. Otter


This note proposes a new criterion for the determination of the number of factors in an approximate static factor model. The criterion is strongly associated with the scree test and compares the differences between consecutive eigenvalues to a threshold. The size of the threshold is derived from a hyperbola and depends only on the sample size and the number of factors k. Monte Carlo simulations compare its properties with well-established estimators from the literature. Our criterion shows similar results as the standard implementations of these estimators, but is not prone to a lack of robustness against a too large a priori determined maximum number of factors kmax.

Suggested Citation

  • Ard H. J. den Reijer & Jan P. A. M. Jacobs & Pieter W. Otter, 2021. "A criterion for the number of factors," Communications in Statistics - Theory and Methods, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(18), pages 4293-4299, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:lstaxx:v:50:y:2021:i:18:p:4293-4299
    DOI: 10.1080/03610926.2020.1713376

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    Cited by:

    1. Ahmed Badawy & Jesus A. Fisteus & Tarek M. Mahmoud & Tarek Abd El-Hafeez, 2021. "Topic Extraction and Interactive Knowledge Graphs for Learning Resources," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(1), pages 1-21, December.

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