Chapter 1 Introduction

G’day and welcome to R cookbook for the casual dabbler.

Some history: I use R a lot for work and for side projects. Over the years I’ve collated a bunch of useful scripts, from macroeconomic analysis to quick hacks for making map legends format properly.

Historically my code has been stored in random Rpubs documents, medium articles, and a bunch of .Rmd files on my hardrive. Occasionally I feel like doing things properly - and upload code to a repository on github.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize this isn’t a very sustainable solution - and it also isn’t very useful for sharing code with others. It turns out 2-years of lockdown in Melbourne was enough incentive to sit down and collate my best and most useful code into a single place. In the spirit of open source, a book seemed like the most logical format. The following is a very rough book written in markdown - R’s very own publishing language.

1.1 Usage

In each chapter I’ve written up the background, methodology and code for a separate piece of analysis.

Most of this code will not be extraordinary to the seasoned R aficionado. The vast majority can be found elsewhere if you dig around on stackexchange or read some of Hadley’s books.

However I find that in classic Pareto style ~20% of my code contributes to the vast majority of my work output. Having this on hand will hopefully be useful to both myself and others.

1.2 Additional resources

The R community is continually writing new books and package documentation with great worked examples. Some of my favourites (which all happen to be written in the R markdown language) are:

1.3 Limitations

I’ll be honest with you - there’s bound to be bugs galore in this. If you find one (along with spelling errors etc) please email me at with the subject line ‘R cookbook for the casual dabbler.’

1.4 About the author

Charles Coverdale is an economist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is passionate about economics, climate science, and building talented teams. You can get in touch with Charles on twitter to hear more about his current projects.