From Data to Causes II: Comparing Approaches to Panel Data Analysis


Zyphur M, Voelkle M, Tay L, Allison P, Preacher K, Zhang Z, Hamaker E, Shamsollahi A, Pierides D, Koval P & Diener E (2020) From Data to Causes II: Comparing Approaches to Panel Data Analysis. Organizational Research Methods, 23 (4), pp. 688-716.

This article compares a general cross-lagged model (GCLM) to other panel data methods based on their coherence with a causal logic and pragmatic concerns regarding modeled dynamics and hypothesis testing. We examine three “static” models that do not incorporate temporal dynamics: random- and fixed-effects models that estimate contemporaneous relationships; and latent curve models. We then describe “dynamic” models that incorporate temporal dynamics in the form of lagged effects: cross-lagged models estimated in a structural equation model (SEM) or multilevel model (MLM) framework; Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data methods; and autoregressive latent trajectory models. We describe the implications of overlooking temporal dynamics in static models and show how even popular cross-lagged models fail to control for stable factors over time. We also show that Arellano-Bond and autoregressive latent trajectory models have various shortcomings. By contrasting these approaches, we clarify the benefits and drawbacks of common methods for modeling panel data, including the GCLM approach we propose. We conclude with a discussion of issues regarding causal inference, including difficulties in separating different types of time-invariant and time-varying effects over time.

panel data model; causal inference; cross-lagged model; Granger causality; structural equation model; multilevel model; latent curve model; latent growth model; Arellano-Bond methods

Organizational Research Methods: Volume 23, Issue 4

FundersAustralian Research Council
Publication date31/10/2020
Publication date online31/05/2019
Date accepted by journal24/05/2019