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Re: st: Problem with synth for Stata

From   Neil Shephard <>
Subject   Re: st: Problem with synth for Stata
Date   Wed, 18 Nov 2009 16:40:31 +0000

2009/11/18 [ISO-8859-1] Andrés Castañeda <>:
> HI.
> I have just downloaded the program Synth for STATA and I got some
> problems with it.

Where did you get this "Synth" program from?

It doesn't appear to be listed on any of the official Stata sites as
the only hit on -findit synth- points to the package -midas- which
doesn't include any -synth- command.

Have you tried contacting the author?

> I am trying to see if the war of Colombia has any
> effect on the foreign risk and investment perception using political
> events about conflict. I have a time series daily data base and when I
> try to use the “synth” command I got the following error: “expression
> too long” r(130),

Thats probably the problem then, the expression you are using is too
long for the version and flavour of Stata you're using (you've not
indicated which)

>  despite the treatment periods that I use. The error
> message says something like this: “In the first case, you specified an
> expression that is too long for Stata to process -- the expression
> contains more than 255 pairs of nested parentheses or more than 500
> dyadic operators.  Break the expression into smaller parts.  In the
> second case, the expression contains more than five sum() functions.
> This expression, too, will have to be broken into smaller parts.” But
> I don’t know what the message means with “the expression has to be
> broken into smaller parts”. What can I do????

See -man limits- for the limitations that are imposed under different
versions of Stata.  Based on the current limits in Stata 11.0 it
sounds as though you're on an older version as the limits for dyadic
operators under Intercooled and SE/MP is now 800

See the online version at

One possible solution is to upgrade (providing you aren't exceeding
the limits in Stata 11.0).


"The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does
not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body
of data." ~ John Tukey (1986), "Sunset salvo". The American
Statistician 40(1).

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