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Re: st: stata and weighting

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   Re: st: stata and weighting
Date   Thu, 11 Mar 2004 08:29:00 -0500

At 07:59 AM 3/11/2004 -0500, Nick Winter wrote:
More generally, my sense is that some other statistics packages (especially SPSS; I can't speak for others), don't distinguish between types of weights, and therefore make it very difficult to even know what, exactly, you are getting. Stata makes you think about what you really want your weights to do, which IMHO is a feature.
Yes, I would say that what SPSS does is the equivalent of iweights. Whoever provides the weights may have computed them in such a way that they become the equivalent of aweights. Or, you have to rescale the weights yourself to make them aweights. I was struck by the User's Guide discussion of how aweights have historically been misused, because what it described is what I've basically done with SPSS for years.

I think it is a little odd that SPSS isn't more like Stata in this respect. Rescaling the weights so that weighted N = real N is pretty basic but SPSS makes you do the computations yourself. And, SPSS has no built-in feature for robust standard errors (basically aweights + robust s.e.s). SPSS seems to think that if you are weighting it must be because you are analyzing data that has been collapsed into a table. Big edge to Stata on the handling of weights.

More generally, Stata often surprises me with the output it does and does not provide. It often does seem inexplicable at first. But usually, there is a good reason for it, albeit not necessarily one that I completely understand.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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