# Base Effect

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## Definition of 'Base Effect'

The base effect is an economic phenomenon that occurs when the comparison of two data points is affected by the level of the first data point. This can lead to misleading conclusions if the analyst is not aware of the base effect.

For example, consider a company that has been growing its sales by 10% per year. If the company's sales were \$100 million in the first year, then its sales would be \$110 million in the second year, \$121 million in the third year, and so on. However, if the company's sales were \$10 million in the first year, then its sales would be \$11 million in the second year, \$12.1 million in the third year, and so on.

In the first case, the company's sales growth rate is 10% per year. In the second case, the company's sales growth rate is 10% per year, but the company's sales are growing from a smaller base.

The base effect can be a problem when comparing the performance of two companies or two economies. For example, if one company has been growing its sales by 10% per year for the past five years, and another company has been growing its sales by 5% per year for the past five years, the first company may appear to be performing better than the second company. However, if the first company's sales were \$100 million in the first year, and the second company's sales were \$10 million in the first year, then the first company's sales growth rate is actually only 5% per year, while the second company's sales growth rate is 10% per year.

The base effect can also be a problem when comparing the performance of an economy over time. For example, if an economy's GDP grew by 5% in the first year, and then grew by 10% in the second year, the economy's growth rate may appear to have doubled. However, if the economy's GDP was \$100 billion in the first year, and then grew to \$105 billion in the second year, the economy's growth rate is actually only 5% per year.

The base effect is a common problem in economics, and it is important to be aware of it when interpreting data. By understanding the base effect, analysts can avoid making misleading conclusions.

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