Bayesian Information Criterion and Selection of the Number of Factors in Factor Analysis Models
Volume 9, Issue 2 (2011), pp. 243–259
Pub. online: 4 August 2022 Type: Research Article Open Access
4 August 2022
4 August 2022
Abstract: In maximum likelihood exploratory factor analysis, the estimates of unique variances can often turn out to be zero or negative, which makes no sense from a statistical point of view. In order to overcome this difficulty, we employ a Bayesian approach by specifying a prior distribution for the variances of unique factors. The factor analysis model is estimated by EM algorithm, for which we provide the expectation and maximization steps within a general framework of EM algorithms. Crucial issues in Bayesian factor analysis model are the choice of adjusted parameters including the number of factors and also the hyper-parameters for the prior distribution. The choice of these parameters can be viewed as a model selection and evaluation problem. We derive a model selection criterion for evaluating a Bayesian factor analysis model. Monte Carlo simulations are conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the proposed procedure. A real data example is also given to illustrate our procedure. We observe that our modeling procedure prevents the occurrence of improper solutions and also chooses the appropriate number of factors objectively.