Enno Siemsen and Kenneth A. Bollen Least Absolute Deviation Estimation in Structural Equation Modeling Sociological Methods & Research 2007 36: 227-265.

February 7, 2010

Least absolute deviation (LAD) is a well-known criterion to fit statistical models, but little is known about LAD estimation in structural equation modeling (SEM). To address this gap, the authors use the LAD criterion in SEM by minimizing the sum of the absolute deviations between the observed and the model-implied covariance matrices. Using Monte Carlo simulations, the authors compare the performance of this LAD estimator along several dimensions (bias, efficiency, convergence, frequencies of improper solutions, and absolute percentage deviation) to the full informationmaximum likelihood (ML) and unweighted least squares (ULS) estimators in structural equation modeling. The results for LAD are mixed: There are special conditions under which the LAD estimator outperforms ML and ULS, but the simulation evidence does not support a general claim that LAD is superior to ML and ULS in small samples.

Key Words: least absolute deviation • structural equation modeling • robust estimation • small sample research