Generalized Factor Models: A Bayesian Approach


There is recent interest in the generalization of classical factor models in which the idiosyncratic factors are assumed to be orthogonal and there are identification restrictions on cross-sectional and time dimensions. In this study, we describe and implement a Bayesian approach to generalized factor models. A flexible framework is developed to determine the variations attributed to common and idiosyncratic factors. We also propose a unique methodology to select the (generalized) factor model that best fits a given set of data. Applying the proposed methodology to the simulated data and the foreign exchange rate data, we provide a comparative analysis between the classical and generalized factor models. We find that when there is a shift from classical to generalized, there are significant changes in the estimates of the structures of the covariance and correlation matrices while there are less dramatic changes in the estimates of the factor loadings and the variation attributed to common factors.