Difference-in-differences designs seem to be everywhere now, but some of the papers I read don’t seem to leverage one of their key strengths: visualizing what is going on in the data.

For me, I tend to use the following graph style. It plots the dependent variable over time, here from April to October. The treatment and control groups go with different line patterns and colors. Instead of a bulky legend I denote the groups right next to their line. The treatment time is denoted by two vertical bars which separate the group lines. Instead of a complete grid, the graph only relies on a vertical grid to ease eyeballing the changes in the dependent variables.

Now here is the code for the graph in Stata.

**setup: fill the blanks
global dv = ""
global timevariable = ""
global graphtitle = "A clean graph"
global line1 = "Treatment"
global line2 = "Control"
global ytitle = "Mean of dependent variable"
***
**collapse the data into an aggregated time series
collapse (mean) y = $dv (semean) se_y = $dv, by(m treatment)
sort $timevariable
gen yu = y + 1.96*se_y
gen yl = y - 1.96*se_y
label define m 1 "April" 2 "May" 3 "July" 4 "August" ///
5 "September" 6 "October" 7 "November"
label value m m
twoway (scatter y m if m<=2 & treatment==1, msymbol(S) ) ///
(rcap yu yl m if m=3 & treatment==1) (line y m if m>=3 & treatment==1) ///
(scatter y m if m<=2 & treatment==0, msymbol(S) ) ///
(rcap yu yl m if m=3 & treatment==0) (line y m if m>=3 & treatment==0) ///
(function y=3.25,range(2.10 2.12) recast(area) color(gs12) base(4.25)) ///
(function y=3.25,range(2.88 2.90) recast(area) color(gs12) base(4.25)) ///
, ///
graphregion(margin(large)) ///
ylabel(3.25(.25)4.25) ///
title($title) ///
yscale(titlegap(*16)) ///
xlabel(1(1)7, valuelabel ) xtitle(" ") ///
text(4.3 6.8 $line1) ///
text(3.7 6.8 $line2) ///
graphregion(color(white)) bgcolor(white) ///
ytitle($ytitle) legend(off) scheme(s2mono) ///
saving("fig\clean_plot", replace)
gr combine "fig\clean_plot.gph", /*
*/ iscale(.7) xsize(6)
graph export "fig\clean_plot.png", replace width(1600) height(800)

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