Definition: Base

OECD - Data and Metadata Reporting

A number or magnitude used as a standard of reference. It may occur as a denominator in a ratio or percentage calculation. It may also be the magnitude of a particular time series from which a start is to be made in the calculation of a new relative series – an index number – which will show the observations as they accrue in the future in relation to that of the base period.
Source:
Marriott, F.H.C., 1990, A Dictionary of Statistical Terms, 5th ed., Longman Scientific and Technical, Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex, England, for the International Statistical Institute [quoted in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), "Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook", OECD, Paris, 2007]
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