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st: R and Stata efficiency

From   David Airey <david.airey@Vanderbilt.Edu>
Subject   st: R and Stata efficiency
Date   Mon, 9 Jul 2007 13:13:09 -0500

I was talking to a statistician on our campus about his perception of the relative efficiency of R compared to Stata. One of the things he finds annoying about Stata is having to explicitly save things in addition to estimation:

Examples are: in LR test, I need to save the results of a previous model. In drawing graphs based on the model fit, I have to save the coefficient matrix. In doing further inferences on predicted values, I have to save the predicted values. etc. etc.

Stata commands seem to be designed to only take existant entities as arguments, but cannot take the results of other functions as arguments without explicit assignment. In R, results of functions can always be used as arguments for other functions, making explicit assignment unnecessary if not needed.
Stata does leave behind model coefficients and such that can be directly accessed (without saving). But they disappear after the next estimation. Whereas in R, estimates are always saved in the way a command is issued (<-) and they remain accessible later, unless they are overwritten by mistake or intent later.

David C. Airey, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

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