previously i wrote about the cost of living and metrics in other cities

recently, i’ve been seeing other articles about it and it got me thinking about other indexes and ways of measuring cost of living – one of the most common indexes is the burgernomics metric that the Economist puts out. The argument is that if currency valuations are correct, then a basket of goods in two different countries should work out to being roughly the same. If not, then that would imply that the currency is over or under valued. Although it isn’t that straight forward, it can also show that if a basket of goods costs more in one country than the overall cost of living is more in that country as well. For the past 20 years, the Economist has been using the BigMac as the metric to judge – perhaps not an exact science, but amusing at least…

In 2005, with the US being the benchmark, Canada was -14% cheaper, the UK +12% more expensive, and the UAE -20% cheaper. But in in contrast to the Mercer report, in 2006, the costs adjusted so that in Canada a burger was 1% more expensive, 18% more in the UK, and a staggering 20% cheaper in the UAE! so at least a burger is still cheap in Dubai!

Year USA Canada Britain UAE
2005 -14% +12% -20%
2006 +1% +18% -21%

The Economist also started a sister metric called the Tall Latte index or the Starbuck’s index in 2004, but I couldn’t find an updated one for 2005 or 2006. According to the 2004, the cost of a latte was 16% cheaper in Canada and 23% more expensive in the UK than it would be in the US. crazy…

I’m not sure how valid these are – but i’d like to see some more. Maybe a Coke index? but perhaps too nominal in value to be a effective. How about a Gillette index? or a Sushi index? Vancouver would be nutty cheap on that index!