Swiss Summer School 2008

Peter Schmidt/Eldad Davidov
Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) I

Peter Schmidt is Professor for Social Research at the University of Giessen. His research interests are the foundations and applications of structural equation models, analysis of panel data, and empirical testing of rational choice theory. Applications include national identity, immigration and environmental behavior, topics on which he has published several books and papers.

Eldad Davidov is researcher at the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research-GESIS, in Cologne. His research interests are applications of structural equation modelling to survey data, especially in cross-country and longitudinal research. Applications include human values, rational choice and economic inequality of immigrants.

Workshop contents and objectives

The course will show how a causal theory can be represented by a path diagram and translated into a structural equation model and how the model can be estimated and tested with the AMOS computer program. In the first part we will deal with measurement models relating single or multiple indicators to latent variables. Furthermore different specifications of measurement models are tested via confirmatory factor analysis as a special case of a structural equation model. The second part comprises both the structural and the measurement model. Topics include recursive vs. non-recursive models for the structural part of the model, treatment of panel data and multiple-group comparisons. Special attention is given to the process of model modification.


The objective of this course is to show how structural equation modeling can be used to develop and/or test both measurement models and causal theories between latent variables. A further important aim is to familiarize participants with the AMOS program. The program will be run by graphical input via path diagrams (AMOS Graphics).


Basic texts/overview