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A simple comparison of R and Python (statsmodels) for doing some
exploratory data analysis and fitting of simple OLS models.
This is a rather condensed version of an analysis I did in a
statistics course. It uses CPS data to look at wage differences
according to gender, examining first a baseline simple model
and then successively more complex models.
For the OLS models R is much easier to use than Python. In
python the design matrices must be constructed explicitly,
which it both painstaking and annoying for complicated
models. Furthermore, the resulting coefficient fits are
unlabelled. Python also doesn't have an anova command like
in R to compare between nested models.
There is also some simple exploratory, non-model based analysis.
In this area R clearly dominates. Python currently doesn't have
one of the main graphical exploratory tools I used, lowess, and
it doesn't print the contents of matrices in a user friendly
Both sets of code are used best when cut and pasted into their
respective gui's. In R's case the standard R gui, and in Python's
case the IPython qtconsole. Non-gui interpreters are generally
much more frustrating to use for interactive data analysis, which
is how these analyses were generated and explored.
In fact, using Python without the IPython qtconsole is practically
impossible for this sort of cut and paste, interactive analysis.
The shell IPython doesn't allow it because it automatically adds
whitespace on multiline bits of code, breaking pre-formatted code's
alignment. Cutting and pasting works for the standard python shell,
but then you lose all the advantages of IPython.
Other issues I ran into were:
*Inability to easily add new columns and rows to data. (However,
this will hopefully be fixed with pandas, and additionally it
wasn't an issue for me in this analysis.)
*Python doesn't pretty print its arrays in any way. This makes it
much more difficult to inspect output from interactive data
analysis if the user was just shoving results/summary statistics
into a single array.
Even if you use the %precision magic in IPython, that only
helps so much because numpy prints numpy arrays by row instead
of by column. The lack of being able to name rows and columns
after array creation is also an impediment to analysis.
*No matplotlib keyboard shortcuts for closing windows. This makes it
annoying to open a plot and then have to move your fingers away from
the keyboard to close the plot.