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st: dummies from categorical variable

From   Jennifer Baxter <>
Subject   st: dummies from categorical variable
Date   Mon, 20 Jul 2009 14:06:48 +1000

I have a categorical variable with >200 possible values, but depending on which dataset I use, some of the possible values are not filled. I want to create dummy values from this variable that are the same regardless of which dataset I use, ie that reflect all possible values of that variable.

If I use:

 tab ACTIVITY, gen(ACT),

the dummy variables don't align across datasets because dummies are not created when no respondents report a particular activity.

I could loop over the possible values instead:

foreach act of numlist 1/215 {
qui: gen ACT `act'=(ACTIVITY ==`act')

and this works well, except the variable labels aren't then attached to the dummy variables, and I really want them to be.

Is there an alternative to "tab" that I could use, with an option to also create dummies for empty cells? Or, is there a way I can attach variable labels in the loop above based on the value labels of the original variable (as is done in tab xx, gen(xxx)) ?


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