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The directional identification problem in Bayesian factor analysis: An ex-post approach


  • Aßmann, Christian
  • Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens
  • Pape, Markus


Due to their well-known indeterminacies, factor models require identifying assumptions to guarantee unique parameter estimates. For Bayesian estimation, these identifying assumptions are usually implemented by imposing constraints on certain model parameters. This strategy, however, may result in posterior distributions with shapes that depend on the ordering of cross-sections in the data set. We propose an alternative approach, which relies on a sampler without the usual identifying constraints. Identification is reached ex-post based on a Procrustes transformation. Resulting posterior estimates are ordering invariant and show favorable properties with respect to convergence and statistical as well as numerical accuracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Aßmann, Christian & Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Pape, Markus, 2012. "The directional identification problem in Bayesian factor analysis: An ex-post approach," Economics Working Papers 2012-11, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:201211

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
    2. Geweke, John & Zhou, Guofu, 1996. "Measuring the Pricing Error of the Arbitrage Pricing Theory," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 557-587.
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    4. Doz, Catherine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2011. "A two-step estimator for large approximate dynamic factor models based on Kalman filtering," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 188-205, September.
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    6. Matthew Stephens, 2000. "Dealing with label switching in mixture models," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 62(4), pages 795-809.
    7. John F. Geweke, 1991. "Evaluating the accuracy of sampling-based approaches to the calculation of posterior moments," Staff Report 148, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Otrok, Christopher & Whiteman, Charles H, 1998. "Bayesian Leading Indicators: Measuring and Predicting Economic Conditions in Iowa," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 997-1014, November.
    9. David Ardia & Lennart F. Hoogerheide, 2010. "Bayesian Estimation of the GARCH(1,1) Model with Student-t Innovations," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-045/4, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. M. Ayhan Kose & Christopher Otrok & Charles H. Whiteman, 2003. "International Business Cycles: World, Region, and Country-Specific Factors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1216-1239, September.
    11. Carvalho, Carlos M. & Chang, Jeffrey & Lucas, Joseph E. & Nevins, Joseph R. & Wang, Quanli & West, Mike, 2008. "High-Dimensional Sparse Factor Modeling: Applications in Gene Expression Genomics," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1438-1456.
    12. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Are more data always better for factor analysis?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 169-194, May.
    13. repec:hal:journl:peer-00844811 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Donald Rubin & Dorothy Thayer, 1982. "EM algorithms for ML factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 69-76, March.
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    More about this item


    Bayesian Estimation; Factor Models; Multimodality; Ordering Problem; Orthogonal Transformation;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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