Gantz M, Brown GG, Bender RH, Fromewick J, Novak S, Chowdhury D, Subramanyam M, Osypuk TL. Comparing statistical software packages for multilevel modeling. Presented at the 2009 Joint Statistical Meetings; August 5, 2009. Washington, DC.

Analysis of multilevel data requires software that can account for complex correlation structures; however, identifying the most appropriate software can be difficult. In addition, most packages do not accommodate both model-based and design-based approaches to multilevel modeling. For example, while many surveys include weights, strata and clustering, packages that account for such design-based components do not often accommodate model-based features such as random effects. We compare the capabilities of SAS, SUDAAN, Stata, Mplus, HLM and MLwiN for analyzing multilevel data from the model- and design-based points of view. Comparisons are based on a review of software documentation and relevant literature, interviews with users, and implementation of a range of models using each of the software packages.

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