Selecting the Correct Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models : The Large Panel Case With Group Bridge Estimators

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-374
Journal / PublicationJournal of Business and Economic Statistics
Issue number3
Online published28 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


This article proposes a group bridge estimator to select the correct number of factors in approximate factor models. It contributes to the literature on shrinkage estimation and factor models by extending the conventional bridge estimator from a single equation to a large panel context. The proposed estimator can consistently estimate the factor loadings of relevant factors and shrink the loadings of irrelevant factors to zero with a probability approaching one. Hence, it provides a consistent estimate for the number of factors. We also propose an algorithm for the new estimator; Monte Carlo experiments show that our algorithm converges reasonably fast and that our estimator has very good performance in small samples. An empirical example is also presented based on a commonly used U.S. macroeconomic dataset.

Research Area(s)

  • Bridge estimation, Common factors, Selection consistency