Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fake LaTex

I really hate to be a proponent of fake anything. But it's so much easier to offer comments on students' papers written in word, and yes, I know that some people take LaTex people more seriously than Word people. So, here it is: Instructions on how to make your Word document not look like a Word document. Use it if you must. But for the official record, I'm very happy with Word documents that look like Word documents. H/T: David McKenzie and Marc Bellemare

Saturday, March 10, 2018

More on Synthetic Control Methods

Arindrajit Dube has an excellent twitter thread on synthetic control methods. Super-informative throughout. I really like the discussion at the end with Wojtek Kopczuk who writes, "My preference, when possible, is to first see a variant of diff-in-diff (as simple as practical for the context) to show the presence of an effect and only then run SC to get precision. Then you hopefully get both transparent identification and tight estimates." 

Friday, March 9, 2018

PDF Document to Excel Sheets, No Problem

Let's say you find the exact data you need, but it's in a lovely PDF report.  Do you hunker down and copy the numbers into an excel sheet--possibly making mistakes? Win a grant so you can pay someone else to do it--who again may make mistakes? No need. There's an ap for that! See here. If the link ever stops working, google "PDF Table Extractor".  

Friday, February 23, 2018

PowerPoint to Beamer, No Problem

Job market candidates use Beamer. It definitely looks nice. Also, as part of the audience, I really like to know how many slides and concepts remain. If there is a lot left, I leave my slightly irrelevant questions for after the talk. That said, PowerPoint is so easy! Especially when going back and forth with coauthors making changes. 

Solution: Jason Kirwin just blogged about a nice, easy way to convert PowerPoint slides to Beamer. Just click here

Sunday, February 11, 2018

How to Avoid Making Stata Coding Errors

OK, I'm not sure whether they can be avoided completely, but these are definitely good tricks for minimizing how often they occur and spotting them quickly. Thank you, Tal Gross, for putting them together. 

My favorites: Use sensible names for variables and programs. Comment everything! Always keep the original data set untouched in a nice safe place. 


Friday, February 2, 2018

Best Stata Tricks Twitter Thread Ever

Click here for the thread. Thank you, Seth Gershenson, for putting it together. Thank you, David Mckenzie, for bringing it to my attention. Grad students, study these carefully. Folks who have been coding Stata for years, you can also find tricks to simplify your life considerably!

My favorites:

If you're plotting regression coefficient estimates & confidence intervals this fine saturday morning, coefplot is the command for you.

binscatter by @michaelstepner: plots mean of y for different bins of x. super helpful for visualizing correlations, esp in big sample when plotting raw data yields a blotch of ink. also for plotting RD reduced forms & event studies.