Two rules of identification for structural equation models



Publication Details

Bollen, K. A. & Davis, W. R. (2009). Two rules of identification for structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 16 (3), 523-536.


Identification of structural equation models remains a challenge to many researchers. Although empirical tests of identification are readily available in structural equation modeling software, these examine local identification and rely on sample estimates of parameters. Rules of identification are available, but do not include all models encountered in practice. In this article we provide 2 rules of identification: the 2C emitted paths rule and the exogenous X rule. The former is a necessary condition of identification and the latter is a sufficient condition. We explain and prove each of these rules and provide illustrations of their application. These rules extend the coverage of structural equation models that we can check for identification. We also explain how they can be part of a piecewise identification strategy that extends their use even further.

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