How can one match names containing non-English characters that
appear differently in different but related data files? For example, I
have data on Raúl Grijalva, who represents the third district of Arizona
in the US House of Representatives. This first name appears as "RaÃºl"
in data read from one file and "Raul" from another.
The ideal would convert both "RaÃºl" and "Raúl" to "Raul". A
reasonable alternative would identify the non-English characters and
match on everything else ("^Ra" and "l$" in this case). The files all
contain state and district, so "AZ-3" could be part of the solution.
However, the file also contains data on Grijalva's predecessor in that
office, Ben Quayle, so "AZ-3" is not enough.
p.s. My current data contains other similar cases, e.g.:
RaÃºl Grijalva AZ House 3
Tony CÃ¡rdenas CA House 29
Linda SÃ¡nchez CA House 38
RaÃºl Labrador ID House 1
AndrÃ© Carson IN House 7
Bob MenÃ©ndez NJ Senate
Ben Ray LujÃ¡n NM House 3
JosÃ© Serrano NY House 15
Nydia VelÃ¡zquez NY House 7
RubÃ©n Hinojosa TX House 15
These names all appear differently in another file I have. I've
written an ugly function that can identify "nonstandard characters".
I'm confident I can solve this problem. However, I'm adding things like
this to the Ecdat package, and it would be more useful for others if I
made better use of other capabilities in R.