Tag Archives: monopolies

The Universal Beer Work Constant

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

It’s Carnaval week/month in Bolivia – the time of year when most beer is drunk. Beer prices have just gone up again, now reaching an outrageous Bs. 9, or more, for a small can of standard beer in supermarkets. This corresponds to USD 3.64 for 1 liter of beer, way more than it costs in rich countries such as Denmark.

If we take into account the low level of wages in Bolivia and the high prices of beer, Bolivia becomes one of the most expensive places in the world for beer lovers. On average, Bolivians have to work about 145 minutes to afford 1 liter of beer (1), whereas in the United States on average they only have to work for 10 minutes (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Minutes of work required to purchase 1 liter of beer in a supermarket

Source: Author’s elaboration based on data from The Economist + Bolivian data (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/09/daily-chart-13?zid=319&ah=17af09b0281b01505c226b1e574f5cc1)
Source: Author’s elaboration based on data from The Economist + Bolivian data (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/09/daily-chart-13?zid=319&ah=17af09b0281b01505c226b1e574f5cc1)

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