Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

A Drinking Wage -- Equality We Can Believe In

Perhaps you've heard of the Big Mac Index, which has been used by The Economist to measure the real purchasing power of different currencies. Now some clever folks have come up with an ideal way to look at the minimum wage: the drinking wage.

Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database of the price of goods around the world, maintains a comprehensive list of the average price of a domestic draft beer in different countries. And the International Labor Organization (ILO) maintains a vast library of minimum monthly wage data. So we combined the two—into a beer indicator, of sorts.

By dividing the average price a local has to pay to get a beer by the hourly minimum wage (assuming a 40-hour work week) a person makes in each country, we were able to approximate how long it takes someone making the minimum wage to earn enough to buy a brew at a local bar.

Given that throwing back a cold one after work is one of the more basic human needs, I can't think of a better way to measure the real minimum wage. The US stacks up pretty well here, with about 25 minutes of work at minimum wage paying for a beer, tying with Canada, Japan, Belgium and Germany -- though given the quality of domestic beer in Germany and Belgium versus the US they may have a better deal going there. The UK and Ireland trail at 30min while France edges up to 35 minutes.


bearing said...

They "may" have a better deal going there?

Timotheos said...

@ bearing
Well if you live in Texas like myself...