The use of path analysis to examine causal structures among continuous variables was pioneered by Sewall Wright and popularized in the social sciences through the work of Peter M. Blau and Otis D. Duncan, among others. There are several advantages to path analysis that account for its continuing popularity: (a) It provides a graphical representation of a set of algebraic relationships among variables that concisely and visually summarizes those relationships; (b) it allows researchers to not only examine the direct impact of a predictor on a dependent variable, but also see other types of relationships, including indirect and spurious relationships; (c) it indicates, at a glance, which predictors appear to have stronger, weaker, or no relationships with the dependent variable; (d) it allows researchers to ...

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