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st: RE: AW: nummode option giving error message. why?

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: AW: nummode option giving error message. why?
Date   Thu, 27 Aug 2009 15:57:02 +0100

Looking at the code directly reveals more than looking at the
documentation or dialog. 

. viewsource _gmode.ado 

gets you there. There is a little bit of inside knowledge here, itself
learnable from 

. viewsource egen.ado 

that a call to -egen- with a call to function -foobar- fires up

What Dalhia is seeing is not a bug. The program author is deliberately
trapping the call to -nummode()- with -by:-. 

Why is a matter for conjecture. The option -nummode()- was introduced
when -mode()- was adopted by Stata as an official -egen- function in
Stata 7 and was not present in the original user-written function
published in STB-50 in 1999. 

Thus this trap has been lurking in the code for the best part of a

I have two guesses on why the program author inserted the trap. 

1. They intended to come back and insert the code necessary at a later
date, but somehow the rest of their life got in the way. 

2. They guessed that the request was much more likely to be problematic
than not. If you are working with -by:- you are subdividing the data so
you would need a lot of data in every group for -nummode()- to work at
all satisfactorily. 

These are just guesses. If obliged, I would go for 2. 

What is certain, however, is that there is no bug. Dalhia's choice is
deliberately trapped by the code. In principle, Dalhia could program her
way out of the bag by cloning _gmode and replacing it with a function
that acts as desired. 


Martin Weiss

The documentation for -egen- is indeed unclear on this point:

set obs 1000

gen x=1+int(10 /* 
*/ *runiform())

gen byte dummy=_n<=`=_N/2'

bys dummy: egen mymode = /* 
 */ mode(x), num(1)

The code leads to an error although the help file does not make the
of the error clear - nor does the dialog box keep one from specifying
and -nummode- simultaneously. 

For -nummode(1)-, the equivalent

bys dummy: egen mymode = /* 
 */ mode(x), min

works fine, so Dalhia can get what she wants...


I am trying to use the nummode option for 'egen mode'. Here is the exact

bysort  name1: egen additionalcusip1=mode( cusip), nummode(1)

The same command when used with the maxmode or minmode option works
but when I use nummode (which is what I need), stata gives me the

option nummode() may not be combined with by

Can anyone tell me why this is happening? Is this a bug in stata or am I
doing something wrong?

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