Piecewise execution of do-files in Stata

Do-files in Stata easily get a bit lengthy. Of course, you can try to shorten do-files and distribute code onto several do-files and have one master file that runs all of the respective sub-do-files (which are included by do dosubfile1.do). Alternatively, you can leave the do-file longish but write your code such that you only run parts of the code at once:

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Use of embedded quotation marks within locals in Stata

Proper use of single and double quotation marks is essential when working in Stata, especially when writing loops where locals can be a huge time and memory saver. The use of single and double quotation marks is rather straightforward (using ` and ‘ for single, and ” for double quotation marks). You can rather easily define a local, e.g. based on the average of a variable

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Check whether variable exists in if-conditions

In some applications, e.g. if you want to save coefficient estimates from a regression with many dummies (e.g. fixed effects), you might want to store coefficients as estimates. In this example, we are interested in storing the estimates of the GROUPVAR dummies, but not the dummies of OTHERVAR. While this is usually straightforward by writing

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Standardize variables by group

Unfortunately, the otherwise great Stata command egen does not allow to standardize variables group, e.g. for each year separately. There is a small get-around by calculating mean and SD first, and then manually creating the standardized the variable (and then you really wonder why this is not implemented in Stata).

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Repetitive tasks … let STATA do the work

Especially in the process of data preparation, but also when one runs whole sets of analysis, we start repeating commands and sets of commands for similar variables. For example in one of my projects, I had to process salary information, that was monthly in wide format, and for several reasons I could not use reshape:

I could have typed:
gen str10 v201_1=""
replace v201_1=c2 if c1=="201"
gen str10 v201_2=""
replace v201_2=c3 if c1=="201"
[...]
gen str10 v201_12=""
replace v201_12=c13 if c1=="201"

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Using Stata to randomise vignettes in NetQuestionnaire

One huge disadvantage of NetQuestionnaire (NetQ) is that randomisation is only possible for the order of sub-items of questions. There is, however, a way to use Stata to make anything random (e.g. the order of questions, content of questions). Below, I describe a way how to generate randomly sets of vignettes. At the end of the do-file, text is saved to an Excel-file). Merged with an address-list, this information can be imported to NetQ, and used in questions using the NetQ-variables. Continue reading