SHAZAM Variables


A variable contains a set of observations (numeric data). A common type of variable is a macroeconomic time series observed at equally spaced time intervals such as annual, quarterly or monthly. A variable could also contain cross-sectional data observed on individuals, households, industries or regions collected at one point in time.

Variable names

Each variable has a name assigned by the user. SHAZAM variable names may consist of letters and numbers and start with a letter. Variable names may be up to 8 characters long.

What is a good variable name ?

Textbooks in statistics and econometrics often talk about variables like Y and X1, X2, X3. These are general names that give no descriptive information. A sensible approach is to assign a variable name that is descriptive of the type of data.


For the Theil textile data set SHAZAM variable names that may be appropriate to assign are:

  1. YEAR
  4. PRICE

Alternatively, the following variable names could be used for this data set:

  1. T
  2. V1
  3. V2
  4. V3


  • Once a variable name has been set it must always be referred to by this name. For example, if a variable is assigned the name CONSUME it cannot be referred to as CONS or CNSM. If spelling errors are made then SHAZAM error messages will result.

  • In general, upper case and lower case names are interchangeable. However, if you wish to distinguish upper and lower case variables and file names in SHAZAM then use the command: SET NOLCUC.

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