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st: Looking up which observation has a particular value


From   "Brian Karfunkel" <bkarfunkel@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: Looking up which observation has a particular value
Date   Thu, 7 Aug 2008 15:37:57 -0700

Hello everyone,

If I have a dataset that looks like this:

     +--------------------+
     |    name   age |
     |---------------------|
  1. |   Smith    42 |
  2. |  Kellog    28 |
  3. | McCairn    19 |
  4. |   Jones    22 |
     +-------------------+

I want to use a particular value of one variable to look up, and then
store in a local (or scalar, if need be) the value of another variable
iIN THAT SAME ROW. In other words, I want to do something like this
(this is of course pseudocode; I understand that locals don't work
like this):

- local jones_age = age if name == "Jones"

or maybe:

- local jones_obs = (some function that returns the row number of the
first observation for which name == "Jones")
- local jones_age = age in `jones_obs'

One thought I had was to either create a variable, say age_jones, and:
- gen age_jones = age if name == "Jones"

And then maybe -sum- age_jones, using the return code to find the age
(which if the obs. is unique should be min, max, and mean), but since
my data is actually many more than four observations long, this seems
rather cumbersome. For those of you familiar with Excel, I'm looking
for something similar to the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP commands.

Any suggestions? Is there a way to create locals from variable values?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

-Brian Karfunkel
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