Software Tools

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Introduction

There is a broad range of software tools available for data analysis. Some, like Stata, are proprietary and specialized for applications to econometric problems in the survey-data context; others, like R, are open-source and follow more general coding standards so that they are more readily adaptable to tasks that are not well-defined in the econometric framework (such as Spatial Analysis).

Statistical Software

Stata

Stata is a proprietary statistical software package widely adopted by economists. It can be used for data cleaning, analysis and visualization, and allows users to create reproducible code as well as using point-and-click commands. Its biggest advantage it that, given its widespread use among economists and the possibility of creating user-written commands, there is a wide variety of microeconometric methods that can be implemented with Stata. Stata can also be used to create maps and dynamic documents, though this last feature is restricted to Stata 15. Unfortunately, it can be rather expensive for a full version, and version upgrades are at full price.

R

R is a free, open-source programming language that is commonly used to conduct statistical analyses. It supports a diverse range of packages and processes, such as geospatial calculation, machine learning tools, and advanced graphics. However, its versatility is dependent on that code syntax and function structure, compared to other software that operates more like a record of actions in relatively more "plain-English" command styles.

EViews

EViews is a statistical package mainly used for time-series econometrics.

SPSS

SPSS is a statistical package used mainly in social sciences.

GIS Software

ArcGIS

ArcGIS is a proprietary GIS package for Windows.

QGIS

QGIS is an open-source GIS package for Windows and Mac.

Data Visualization Software

Tableau

Text Editing Software

LaTeX

DIME has prepared resources for getting started with LaTeX and how to write fully replicable documents using LaTeX. See the resource here. LaTeX's web-based tool, Overleaf, is a great collaboration tool. While new alternatives based on, for example, Microsoft Word that skip LaTeX altogether are emerging, DIME Analytics recommends LaTeX/Overleaf as they are more comprehensive and the resources online are much more well developed than for any of the new tools.

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