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st: re: finding Stata commands


From   Christopher Baum <kit.baum@bc.edu>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: re: finding Stata commands
Date   Mon, 4 Oct 2010 10:04:44 -0400

<>
Tim said

My problem was with the specific statement "most users these days would 
look for -psmatch2-".And I wonder why and how most users would look for 
that command.

Personally, I would probably read the book, and if I thought the models 
could be applied to my problem I would investigate them further (and 
perhaps try fitting them). And I would use the commands mentioned in the 
book.
And maybe the book is out of date and most users are using a different 
command. As I  explore further I would probably find the objections to 
one command and the reasons to use another command.

But I doubt I (or "most users") would look for -psmatch2-.


Not to flog a dead horse, but the statement would have been better phrased as 'most avid Statalist readers, these days, would look for -psmatch2-.'  As Neil Shepard's cute Googling shows, several of the first hits refer to that program, either presentations by one of its authors or help documents that reference it. -psmatch2- is not the only program out there in this domain, but it is surely a very popular one. Those who peruse the recently-mentioned listings of last month's Stata Users Group meetings in the UK will find a presentation by one of its authors, and a do-file that implements its use 

http://ideas.repec.org/p/boc/usug10/13.html

and, as I mentioned, many Statalist readers often make use of -ssc hot-, or at least scan through the postings excerpting from it, such as my monthly posting re last month's activity (where -psmatch2- shows up as #4 of 1306 items). Popularity of a particular routine does not mean it is the best or the only way to solve a problem, but as Nick Cox mentioned, those packages whose authors are generally viewed as competent and careful programmers are often viewed favorably by the wider set of Stata users.

Maarten and Nick are right on track: there is no royal road to the best Stata solution to a problem, and there is no substitute for some research on your part. A great advantage of Stata is that with user-programmers' contributions you can do a lot more than what is built in to the package. A great disadvantage of Stata is that you have to find and evaluate that stuff, or rely on other users' advice.

Kit

Kit Baum   |   Boston College Economics & DIW Berlin   |   http://ideas.repec.org/e/pba1.html
                              An Introduction to Stata Programming  |   http://www.stata-press.com/books/isp.html
   An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata  |   http://www.stata-press.com/books/imeus.html


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