purchasing power across cities

as a follow up–when comparing the price of public transport, a friend duly noted that it would be more interesting to see the relative purchasing power of people in these cities.

conveniently, UBS has published a 2009 report on Prices and Earnings in 73 cities.

using New York as the benchmark, here are the relative purchasing powers (income / price of basket of goods & services) of some cities of note:

City Net Hourly Pay Annual Income
New York 100 100
Chicago 96.3 88.8
Berlin 89.4 77.6
Montreal 88.9 83.9
London 86.7 76.9
Toronto 85.7 80.4
Tokyo 81.4 82.2
Paris 75.2 61.3
Taipei 57.5 58.9
Moscow 55.6 49.4
Hong Kong 52.3 58.1
Seoul 51.3 57.4
Kuala Lumpur 38.4 39.5
Shanghai 25.3 24.7
Bangkok 24.1 26.0

In its report, UBS notes that when comparing purchasing power, the basket of goods and services would be different in Asian cities versus European or North American ones. For that reason, they came up with a measure based on the Economist’s Big Mac Index: working time required to buy a big mac (this is from page 11–download the full report for more info).

cities BM

It’s funny to use Big Macs as a comparison, since going to McDonald’s in North America (as a cheap place to eat) is not quite the same as in Asia, where it’s more a gimmicky thing (since it would be much cheaper to eat, say, a bowl of noodles). I’m sure McDonald’s considers that when marketing (& pricing?) its menu…

bye beaucourt

posted in: montreal 0


I’ve moved! 4 years, 7 roommates, and countless summer sublettors. new address to be determined. somewhere in hanoi.

hidden mosque

posted in: montreal 1

how did I not notice this?

behind the bar laitier just east of the nasty corner of saint-laurent & sainte-catherine.

summer, please

posted in: montreal 0
grabbing coffee near concordia
grabbing coffee near concordia

people are so ready for summer that it even seems nice to sit by the side of a road under construction. (does anyone remember it snowed a week ago?)

two more exams. and then, and then? … the excitement of the unknown.


posted in: montreal 0
ste-catherine & the super sexe capes
ste-catherine & the super sexe capes

was chatting with an italian who had never been to montreal before, and I guess it is kinda weird that you can go from a church to a strip club to a maternity wear store and then to celine dion’s diner in the space of half a block.

variations on glenn gould

posted in: montreal 0

oh yeah, I forgot to mention I went to the variations on glenn gould concert at radio-canada yesterday.

it was kinda lame. I was expecting to be able to see the montreal pianist perform–but when we arrived there was nary a piano in sight. we watched a video montage of the 6-pianists-in-their-6-cities with crappy video and cheesy landscape shots fading into the video feed for the whole two hours. (oh yeah, and TWO HOURS? they played all the repeats.)

interesting idea. just not well executed.

montréal, c’est toi ma ville

posted in: montreal 0

arrived ten minutes early to my 8.30 class (hooray for jetlag), and I suddenly have the urge to smoke. it’s not enough time to do anything substantive + it would be incredible to do something quick to relax. hence my thoughts turn to smoking. QED. too much social conditioning I guess (damn you smokers around me).

so I’m back to impossibly blue skies, fashionable people and chic cafes, but also to that ever-present pressure of being in a place where your life is just too established. social, financial, academic, work (etc. etc. etc.) obligations. you know, that feeling of having approximately 1,038 things to do for yesterday (though I am rather proud of finally getting my inbox down to < 200 messages). a feeling I’ve been gladly without for the past 8 months.

but environmental economics is about to start. guess I’m not having that smoke.

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