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st: insheet/replace with panel data: best practices?

From   "Michael S. Hanson" <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: insheet/replace with panel data: best practices?
Date   Tue, 17 Aug 2004 14:28:06 -0400

	I have several spreadsheets that contain panel data in a "wide" format
on a single variable: dates across the top, cross-sectional identifiers
down the left.  I have been reading them into Stata with -insheet- (as
CSV) and then using -reshape-, but find that this approach is
sub-optimal in that I often loose the dates -- they are recast as v2,
v3,  etc.  I can write code to re-create the dates, but this practice
is neither transparent nor general.  (Transposing the data hasn't
helped:  then I loose the cross-section identifiers.)

	I'm curious how other people approach this issue.  Perhaps there is a
better way to organize the data in the spreadsheet, or perhaps I should
use a different Stata command.  I've looked briefly at -infix- and
-infile-, but they don't seem to address this particular issue.  (The
data are balanced and comma-separated.)  But then again, I may be
missing something.

	My ultimate goal (conceit?) is something sufficiently transparent (a
few lines of code?) that I can give to undergrads with limited Stata
experience and have them pull off a data import of this type without
any problems -- or intervention by me.  This seems like it should be
much simplier than I have made it so far.  Thanks in advance for any

                                         -- Mike

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