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The Stata Journal
Volume 13 Number 4: pp. 699-718

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Dealing with identifier variables in data management and analysis

P. Wilner Jeanty
Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Hobby Center for the Study of Texas
Rice University
Houston, TX
Abstract.  Identifier variables are prominent in most data files and, more often than not, are essential to fully use the information in a Stata dataset. However, rendering them in the proper format and relevant number of digits appropriate for data management and statistical analysis might pose unnerving challenges to inexperienced or even veteran Stata users. To lessen these challenges, I provide some useful tips and guard against some pitfalls by featuring two official Stata routines: the string() function and its elaborated wrapper, the tostring command. I illustrate how to use these two routines to address the difficulties caused by identifier variables in managing and analyzing data from private institutions and U.S. government agencies.
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View all articles with these keywords: identifier variables, leading zeros, FIPS codes, U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, USDA, cross-sectional data, panel data

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