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Re: st: RE: A modest proposal - missing data doesn't count

From   David Bell <>
To   "" <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: A modest proposal - missing data doesn't count
Date   Tue, 15 Jun 2010 12:59:08 -0400

I am in principle supportive of this new -value- expression.  I get bit periodically and the various workarounds are sometimes inelegant.  But some of the counterarguments seem potentially fatal.  However, assertions that a working solution _cannot_ exist have not yet been established.

In the spirit of seeing whether there is a resolution to this discussion of a potential -value- expression, I see two steps that are brought up by the discussion:

(1) what is a proposed description of what -value()- should do, and
(2) what are the various special situations and combinations of special situations, and how would the proposed deal with them?

Could there be a way that this new expression could correspond to people's intuitive understandings in a way that, while having perhaps its own issues, would bite less than the - >10 - problem bites?

David C. Bell
Professor of Sociology
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
(317) 278-1336

On Jun 15, 2010, at 12:40 PM, Austin Nichols wrote:

> Martin--
> I agree.  In particular the treatment of p&q and p|q in the presence
> of one missing value should worry anyone who actually uses data; this
> is something that requires careful thought in any specific instance,
> depending on what one is trying to estimate.
> Allan--
> Both x<10 and x>10 can be affected by presence of missings in x; think of
> . gen dummy=(x<10)
> for example.  No solution is perfect, and the treatment in functions
> like max() and sum(), or egen functions like rowtotal() etc., logical
> expressions, algebra on variables, and so forth may be hard for some
> users to internalize, but so would another "solution" create
> difficulties, not always immediately obvious, and bound to trip up
> those of us who are used to the current behavior (but still get
> tripped up by the current behavior when we aren't careful).
> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 6:53 AM, Martin Weiss <> wrote:
> <snip>
>> I found the alternative approaches to missings presented in
>> wholly
>> unconvincing and worse than the current state.
> <snip>
>> -----Allan Reese-----
>> It's so easy to forget that x<10 will not be affected by missing values
>> but x>10 will be.  It would be good to have software that guards against
>> pitfalls rather than invites you in.
> <snip>
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