Control Variables

After compiling the panel datasets, the only thing left to do is updating the control variables. Controls are things like average personal income, number of elderly persons, number of persons of a given race or gender in a county and the number of beds of a hospital. Control variables are extremely important! Remember, we want to find the effect of unemployment on the number of Medicare patient procedures. So, let’s say we find a positive relationship between them (when we’re not using controls). It could be because counties with more minorities have higher unemployment and minorities are more likely to have Medicare and go to the hospital than whites. If this is the case, unemployment actually has no effect on procedures and is just picking up the effect of race. So last week I searched through the US census and Florida websites in search of the needed control variables and now we have as many control variables for as many years as we can. All that’s left is for the 2009/2010 data to come and be cleaned, and then we’re ready for business. I can’t wait!!!