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Model Implied Instrumental Variables (MIIVs): An Alternative Orientation to Structural Equation Modeling


Bollen, Kenneth A. (2019). Model Implied Instrumental Variables (MIIVs): An Alternative Orientation to Structural Equation Modeling. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 54(1), 31-46. PMCID: PMC6693517


Few dispute that our models are approximations to reality. Yet when it comes to structural equation models (SEMs), we use estimators that assume true models (e.g. maximum likelihood) and that can create biased estimates when the model is inexact. This article presents an overview of the Model Implied Instrumental Variable (MIIV) approach to SEMs from Bollen (1996). The MIIV estimator using Two Stage Least Squares (2SLS), MIIV-2SLS, has greater robustness to structural misspecifications than system wide estimators. In addition, the MIIV-2SLS estimator is asymptotically distribution free. Furthermore, MIIV-2SLS has equation-based overidentification tests that can help pinpoint misspecifications. Beyond these features, the MIIV approach has other desirable qualities. MIIV methods apply to higher order factor analyses, categorical measures, growth curve models, dynamic factor analysis, and nonlinear latent variables. Finally, MIIV-2SLS permits researchers to estimate and test only the latent variable model or any other subset of equations. In addition, other MIIV estimators beyond 2SLS are available. Despite these promising features, research is needed to better understand its performance under a variety of conditions that represent empirical applications. Empirical and simulation examples in the article illustrate the MIIV orientation to SEMs and highlight an R package MIIVsem that implements MIIV-2SLS.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published


Journal Title

Multivariate Behavioral Research


Bollen, Kenneth A.