How to Call R from Stata

When it comes to data analysis, if you’re anything like me you probably work across several different platforms. Depending on your analytical needs you might get basic descriptives from Excel, but use programs like Stata and R for more complex routines.

One of the frustrations that go with this form of data science is the need to transfer data from one program to another.

It’s straight forward to export data in .csv format, and then import the data in a different program. But you may lose some important formatting such as variable and value labels in the data set.

Programs such as Stat Transfer make it easy to convert data from one program format to another. But as with the .csv export, it takes valuable time to convert and transfer the data. And you end up with multiple copies of the same data set clutering up your machine.

Wouldn’t it be way easier if you could just call one data analysis program from inside another? As a Stata user, I’ve often wished I could perform a quick analysis in R without having to go through all of this effort.

In this article, I’ll show you a method for writing your R code, running R, feeding it data, returning R output in a text file, and returning any changes in your dataset to Stata…all while working in Stata’s native environment. I’m doing this on a PC, so Mac users will need to forgive me.
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