EasyReg Help Topics

About EasyReg International

Easy Regression International (shortly "EasyReg") does most of the econometrics tasks available in commercial econometrics software, and even more, simply by clicking the mouse. While commercial econometrics software cost from $600 to more than $1000 for a single copy for non-academic use, and up to $10,000 for unlimited network use, EasyReg is completely free for non-commercial use. In the latter case EasyReg may be downloaded freely from the web, and be put on stand-alone PCs and network servers without my prior consent. However, if EasyReg will be used for commercial research, it is not free! See the EasyReg web page for the commercial rates.

EasyReg is designed for use in empirical economic research (including my own research), and for teaching econometrics at all levels. EasyReg is programmed in Microsoft Visual Basic 5, and therefore works on all 32 bit Windows platforms, from Windows 95 to Windows 7.

EasyReg is called International because it accepts both commas and dots as decimal delimiters, and will therefore work anywhere in the world without the need to adjust the setting of Windows. Previously you had to change the number setting of Windows to the American setting (a dot as decimal symbol, and a comma as digit grouping symbol) in order to use EasyReg in a country where a decimal comma is used. However, this could affect the performance of other programs, in particular if EasyReg is installed on a Windows network. It is now no longer necessary to change the number setting of Windows. However, all numerical output will be displayed with a decimal dot.

WARNING: Do not use a digit grouping symbol: For example, enter numbers as either 312013.37 or 312013,37 rather than 312,013.37 or 312.013,37, respectively.

Moreover, EasyReg works under non-English versions of Windows as well without the need to adjust the language setting of Windows, as long as the language involved uses a roman alphabet, for example German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and French Windows versions. However, if your Windows uses a language with a non-roman alphabet such as Japanese and Chinese, and the EasyReg menus do not open automatically when you move the mouse pointer over them, the problem is likely due to the language setting for non-Unicode programs (EasyReg is such a program). If so, open Control Panel, select "Regional and Language Options", and on the "Advanced" tab, under "Language for non-Unicode programs", select English. This will fix the problem without affecting the language of Windows itself.

A detailed list of the many econometric tasks EasyReg is able to perform can be found on the EasyReg web page, at

http://www.personal.psu.edu/hxb11/EASYREG.HTM

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About the start-up folder

Once you have imported data, EasyReg creates a sub-folder EASYREG.DAT, containing the (binary) random access data files INPUT1.RAN and INPUT2.RAN, a copy INPUT.CSV of the original data file in Excel CSV format, the output text file OUTPUT.TXT, stored picture files (*.BMP), and various temporary files (*.TMP), in the folder where EasyReg has been started up.

The function of the EASYREG.DAT subfolder is threefold:

  1. The subfolder EASYREG.DAT is a container for the data files INPUT1.RAN and INPUT2.RAN. The random access file INPUT2.RAN contains the variable names, the missing value code, and for each variable the location of the actual data in the random access file INPUT1.RAN.
  2. Since EasyReg is chopped up in modules (the EXE files in the EasyReg folder), these modules need to pass-on information to each other. This is done via temporary files (*.TMP), which are created during an EasyReg session, and are deleted when the EasyReg session is ended. Thus, the EASYREG.DAT subfolder is a container for these temporary files.
  3. Each folder containing an EASYREG.DAT subfolder identifies a particular econometric project, which may not yet be completed. If you start-up EasyReg in a folder already containing a subfolder EASYREG.DAT, you can continue the previous session. The output file OUTPUT.TXT will not be overwritten with new output. Instead, new output will be added to OUTPUT.TXT, and identified by the date and time when it was added. EasyReg can also store picture files (*.BMP) created during a session in EASYREG.DAT. Thus, the EASYREG.DAT subfolder keeps all the output files neatly together.

To continue a previous EasyReg session, open File > Get data > Continue with a previous session, and follow the instructions on how to locate existing EASYREG.DAT subfolders.

I have gotten many E-mails from first-time EasyReg users who were at a loss as to how to import data in EasyReg, and get it running. Most EasyReg tasks require data, so that most menu items will be disabled when you start-up EasyReg for the first time. Therefore, if you are a first time EasyReg user, I recommend that you take the guided tour first before you actually try to import data: Open the 'File' menu and click 'How to get data', or click here. The tour explains step-by-step how to import data in EasyReg.

NOTE: All the guided tours run via Internet Explorer in offline mode.

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About EasyReg data files in Excel CSV format

CSV files are comma (,) or semicolon (;) delimited Microsoft Excel text files, which can be created by clicking in Excel 'File > Save As...'. Whether a comma or a semicolon is used as data entry delimiter depends on whether your Windows uses a dot (.) as decimal delimiter or a comma (,).

A CSV file has the following structure if your Windows uses a dot as decimal delimiter

"Variable name 1","Variable name 2",".......","Variable name k"
x(1,1),x(1,2),....,x(1,k)
.........................
x(n,1),x(n,2),....,x(n,k)

and in countries where a decimal comma is used:

"Variable name 1";"Variable name 2";".......";"Variable name k"
x(1,1);x(1,2),....;x(1,k)
.........................
x(n,1);x(n,2),....;x(n,k)

where n is the number of observations, k the number of variables, and x(i,j) is the numerical data entry corresponding to observation i and variable j. Missing values, i.e., empty data entries in the original Excel file, are indicated by ,,... (or ;;... if your Windows uses a comma as decimal delimiter). The variable names are placed between quotation marks (") if some of them contain blank spaces.

If you exchange a CSV file with somebody in a country where a different number setting is used, you have to convert this file according to your regional Windows setting before you can use it in EasyReg, as follows:

Click the Windows 'Start' button, and then click Settings > Control Panel > Regional setting > Number, and reset the decimal symbol according to the CSV file. Next, import the CSV file in Excel, and while Excel is open, put the number setting of Windows back in the original setting. Then save the Excel file as a CSV file.

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About EasyReg data files in space delimited text format

EasyReg data files in space delimited text format have the following structure:

k m
Name of variable 1
Name of variable 2
..............
Name of variable k
x(1,1) x(1,2) .... x(1,k)
x(2,1) x(2,2) .... x(2,k)
.........................
x(n,1) x(n,2) .... x(n,k)

where 'k' is the number of variables, 'm' is the missing value code, 'n' is the number of observations, and x() is the data matrix. Numerical data are separated by at least one space (DON'T USE COMMAS AS DATA ENTRY SEPARATORS!). The data matrix x() may also be entered in vector form, with each data point x(t,i) on a separate line, or on one line only, as long as the order x(1,1) x(1,2) ... x(1,k) ...... x(n,1) x(n,2) .... x(n,k) is preserved. The missing value code 'm' should be such that x(i,j) = m only if data point x(i,j) is a missing value, for example, set m = -99999. Set m = 0 if and only if there are no missing values. In the time series case missing values are only allowed at the beginning or the end of the time series. In the cross-section case missing values are allowed anywhere. The variable names may contain spaces, numbers, etc., but no commas.

You may use a dot or a comma as decimal delimiter for the data entries x(t,i) and the missing value code, regardless the number setting of your Windows.

WARNING: If you save a data file from the Internet as a text file, the line breaks may not work. However, if you import the file in MS Wordpad and save it again, the problem will be solved.

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About panel data

Panel data is treated by EasyReg as either cross-section data, where the same variables for different time periods are treated as different variables, or as time series data, depending on whether you have either large N/small T or small N/Large T panel data, where N is the number of cross-sections and T is the length of the time series involved.

For example, if N > T, so that your data file is set-up as cross-section data, and if you have K variables for each cross-section j (j=1,..,N) and time period t (t=1,..,T), the data file in EasyReg space delimited text format has the following structure:

L m (L = K*T, m = missing value code)
Name(1,1)
....
Name(1,T)
....
Name(K,1)
....
Name(K,T)
x(1,1,1) ... x(1,1,T) ... x(1,K,1) ... x(1,K,T)
...............................................
x(N,1,1) ... x(N,1,T) ... x(N,K,1) ... x(N,K,T)

where x(i,j,t) is the data entry of variable j for cross section i and time t, and Name(j,t) is the name of variable j for time t.

The corresponding CSV file format is either:

"Name(1,1)",....,"Name(1,T)",....,"Name(K,1)",....,"Name(K,T)"
x(1,1,1),...,x(1,1,T),...,x(1,K,1),...,x(1,K,T)
...............................................
x(N,1,1),...,x(N,1,T),...,x(N,K,1),...,x(N,K,T)

if your Windows uses a dot (.) as decimal delimiter, or:

"Name(1,1)";....;"Name(1,T)";....;"Name(K,1)";....;"Name(K,T)"
x(1,1,1);...;x(1,1,T);...;x(1,K,1);...;x(1,K,T)
...............................................
x(N,1,1);...;x(N,1,T);...;x(N,K,1);...;x(N,K,T)

if your Windows uses a comma (,) as decimal delimiter.

If T > N, so that your data file is set-up as time series data, the data file in EasyReg space delimited text format has the following structure:

L m (L = K*N, m = missing value code)
Name(1,1)
....
Name(1,N)
....
Name(K,1)
....
Name(K,N)
x(1,1,1) ... x(N,1,1) ... x(1,K,1) ... x(N,K,1)
....
x(1,1,T) ... x(N,1,T) ... x(1,K,T) ... x(N,K,T)

where again x(i,j,t) is the data entry of variable j for cross section i and time t, and now Name(j,i) is the name of variable j for cross-section i. The corresponding CSV file format is similar to the previous case.

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How to estimate panel data models

Panel data models can be estimated via Menu > Multiple equations models > Linear general method of moments (GMM).

In the case of fixed effect panel data models you have to transform the Y and X variables in the model first by taking first differences, using the 'linear combination' option in the transformation menu in the case of large N/small T panel data, or the difference transformation in the time series transformation menu in the case of small N/large T panel data, in order to eliminate the fixed effects. Then specify a GMM model of the form:

y(j,t)-y(j,t-1) = b(1)(x(j,1,t)-x(j,1,t-1)) + .. + b(k)(x(j,k,t)-x(j,k,t-1)) + u(j,t)-u(j,t-1),

where the y(j,t)'s are the dependent variables, the x(j,i,t)'s (i = 1,..,k) are the predetermined variables (possibly including lagged dependent variables), and the u(j,t)'s are the model errors. The equations involved are stacked for t=2,..,T in the case of large N/small T panel data, yielding a system of T-1 equations, and stacked for j=1,..,N in the case of small N/large T panel data, yielding a system of N equations. If the original fixed effect model has a time trend, you should include a common intercept b(0) in these equations. The errors u(j,t) are assumed to be i.i.d. for j = 1,..,N and t = 1,..,T. In the case of pooled panel data models there is no fixed effect, so that there is no need to difference the variables. Apart from this, the GMM model involved is similar to the fixed effect panel data model.

If all the parameters are common in each equation, EasyReg will ask you whether the model is a fixed panel data model, a pooled panel data model, or neither. In the case of panel data models, EasyReg will use the typical structure of the variance matrix of the errors in conducting GMM.

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About "Why" and "How"

These queries are actual queries which I received by E-mail from many first-time EasyReg users. Although EasyReg aims to be self-explanatory, provided the user reads the EasyReg web page carefully, it appears that many users get lost when they run EasyReg for the first time.

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Why does nothing happen upon switching from research to advanced level?

Something does happen! For example, if your data are time series, the Bierens' test for complex unit roots will be disabled. Also, other Bierens' stuff will be disabled, such as SMINK density estimation, the Bierens' cointegration test, and Bierens' nonlinear cotrending analysis.

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Why are all the menu items involving data disabled?

This happens if there is no data file. Click here to take the guided tour on how to import data in EasyReg.

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Why are the time series menu items disabled?

This happens if there is no data file, or if the data has been declared cross-section data.

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Why are the multiple equations menu item disabled?

This happens if either there is no data file, or the data contains only one variable, or the data contains more than one variable but has been declared cross-section data. In the latter case only the GMM menu items are enabled.

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Why are the multiple variables menu items disabled?

This happens if either there is no data file, or the data contains only one variable.

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Why are the output menu items disabled?

This happens if there are no output files.

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Why does the taskbar cover some EasyReg buttons?

The taskbar at the bottom of the Windows screen may cover up some of the EasyReg control buttons if the desktop screen area size is 640x480 pixels, or if you have set EasyReg full screen. This taskbar can be made invisible, however, by changing the setting of Windows: Click Start > Settings > Taskbar and Start Menu, and set the taskbar 'Always on top' and 'Auto hide'. Then the taskbar becomes visible only if you move the mousepointer below the screen.

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How can I make the EASYREG.DAT folder?

EasyReg creates a sub-folder EASYREG.DAT itself in the folder where you have started up EasyReg, once you have imported a data file. If you make a folder EASYREG.DAT yourself, and put your data file in it, EasyReg will not recognize the data file. Open 'File > How to get data', or click here. The guided tour will teach you step-by-step how to import data in EasyReg.

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How can I import a data file?

In previous versions of EasyReg you had to choose the start-up folder first before importing a data file, which caused confusion with first-time EasyReg users. Now you choose the input file first, which solves the problem. Nevertheless, if you are still confused, take the guided tour: Open 'File' > 'How to get data', or click here. The guided tour will teach you step-by-step how to import data in EasyReg.

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How can I import an Excel data file?

Excel files in CSV format are now one of the default formats for EasyReg input files. Save the Excel file in CSV format (comma or semicolon delimited text file), and then import it in EasyReg. See the guided tour: Open 'File > How to get data', or click here. The guided tour will teach you step-by-step how to import data in EasyReg.

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How can I export a selection of variables to a new file?

Once you have transformed variables you may wish to write these variables or a selection of them to a file, as follows. Open Menu > Data analysis > Make data table, select the variables you want to include in your new data file, and click "Selection OK". Then you can save the data in Excel CSV format or EasyReg space delimited text format.

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How can I run multiple instances of EasyReg?

EasyReg is designed as a single user program: The single user mode is the default. Therefore, if you activate EasyReg twice you will get a message saying that a previous instance of EasyReg is still running. However, it is possible to install EasyReg on a network and run it in multiple users mode, as explained on the EasyReg web page.

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How can I run EasyReg from CD or USB drive without installing it on the host computer?

It is possible to run EasyReg from a CD or USB drive without installing it on the host computer, provided that the CD or USB drive also contains the necessary Windows system files, next of course to the EasyReg files themselves.

EasyReg uses Windows system files such as dynamic link libraries (*.DLL files) and ActiveX controls (*.OCX files). Upon installation of EasyReg these files are copied to the Windows system folder. If an uninstall file (*UNST.LOG or *UNST.000) is available in the EasyReg folder, EasyReg can retrieve these system files from the Windows folder, via "Tools > Make an EasyReg stand-alone CD > Prepare the CD". The latter module copies these Windows system files together with the entire contents of the EasyReg folder, including any guided tours, to a new folder, "CopyEasyRegToCD", in the drive where EasyReg is installed.

To make an EasyReg stand-alone CD, copy the entire contents of folder "CopyEasyRegToCD" to a CD, and make the CD readable in any CD-Rom drive. Note that only the contents of this folder should be copied to CD, not the folder itself. Then you can run EasyReg from CD on any Windows host computer without installing it. Because the CD is usually write protected, EasyReg will run via EASYREGN.EXE, similar to the network version.

To install EasyReg on a USB drive, create a new folder on this drive, for example "EasyRegStandAlone", and copy the entire contents of folder "CopyEasyRegToCD" to the folder "EasyRegStandAlone" on the USB drive. Then you can run EasyReg via "EasyRegStandAlone\EASYREG.EXE" without installing it on the host computer.

Alternatively, download and run the self-extracting WinZip file

and change the default root folder c:\ in the Unzip To Folder box to the root folder of the USB drive. Then EasyReg will be installed in default folder EasyRegStandAlone on the USB drive, including all the guided tours and all the necessary system files. Again, you can now run EasyReg from the USB drive via "EasyRegStandAlone\EASYREG.EXE".

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Some text boxes in EasyReg are blacked out. How can that be fixed?

This problem may happen under Windows 7, which seems to be due to a bug in Windows 7. A possible solution is to change the screen setting to "Classical Windows". However, this problem has been fixed in the 2012 version of EasyReg.

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