Computer Tools for Social Scientists

Version Control|SAS | Stata | Python | Linear Algebra | Tools for writing documents containing math

Text Editors

Version Control


Material from our class

(Our handouts as MS Word .doc files: General, Procedures, and Data Steps)

Format.SAS is a macro that automates writing proc format statements that have several bins, each of the same size.


Python: for e.g. custom computations, text processing, and automating downloads

Python is a friendly, free, general purpose language that can automate complex downloads from the web, doing custom linear algebra tasks, processing text files, or a variety of other things. Its name is reference to the Monty Python comedy group which is a very good sign.

Text Processing in Python



I have been using Python to create publication-ready LaTeX tables from regression results in stata .log files that also contain detailed variable labels reported with a "describe, fullnames" command. I've then used python to combine tables reporting a single regression into "wide" tables that report multiple regressions. I hope to clean up and better comment this code soon and to make it recognize regressions containing output in Stata's standard scientific notation like 5.3e-10.

Linear Algebra

Rob has developed notes that introduce the linear algebra you need to know for econometrics. the LaTeX source for my linear algebra notes allows you to modify these notes, or just see how he typeset them.

Tools for creating mathematically intensive documents

Rob is a fan of the LaTeX typesetting system for creating documents that include a lot of mathematics. In particular, he recommends using two free programs: MiKTeX to do the typesetting and TeXnicCenter to edit the source files. You can find information about getting started with LaTeX online or in Leslie Lamport's LaTeX book. The NatBib bibliography package which makes it easy to create cites like Borenstein (2007) and the SetSpace package for adjusting document spacing

Some folks I know have bought Scientific Word / Scientific Workplace which puts a nice interface over LaTeX. One other friend swears by a similar, free system, LyX

Web design and HTML

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