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An observation in Stata is one row of your dataset, 
otherwise known as a case or record. 

A string is empty if it contains no 
characters and so is represented by "". 

Thus if I read in the auto dataset 
and ask for a listing 

. l if rep78 == 6 

I will get no result as there are 
no such observations. This is 
different from having some observations
which for a string variable just 
contain an empty string "". 

It's the difference between having no 
boxes and some boxes that happen to 
be empty. 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 
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