Fungible Parameter Estimates in Structural Equation Modeling

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Extending work by Waller (2008) on fungible regression coefficients, we propose a method for computation of fungible parameter estimates in structural equation modeling. Such estimates are defined as distinct alternative solutions for parameter estimates, where all fungible solutions yield identical model fit that is only slightly worse than the fit provided by optimal estimates. When such alternative estimates are found to be highly discrepant from optimal estimates, then substantive interpretation based on optimal estimates is called into question. We present a computational method and 3 illustrations showing the potential impact of this approach in applied research, and we discuss implications and issues for further research.

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