September 27, 2012

How is the beer up (down) here?

UBS economists have produced a nice graph showing how many minutes does it take to earn a beer. There is one fatal flaw however – it doesn’t have New Zealand! I thought we had better remedy this (maybe I am just avoiding something). The graph takes the average price for 500mL of beer, and divides it by the median hourly wage. The dollar figures, I assume, are all converted to US dollars so that everything is on the same scale. Statistics New Zealand helpfully provides us with the average hourly wage for 2011 – NZD20.38, and uses the power of crowd-sourcing to give us the average price of a pint in New Zealand at GBP2.36. Converting both of these figures in to US dollars gives us USD16.8241 and USD3.82047 respectively at today’s rates from This means on average it takes 13.62 minutes to earn a pint in New Zealand. There are no figures on the plot, but we seem to sit somewhere between Australia and Argentina, our fellow Rugby Championship competitors, but a long way below South Africa.


James Curran's interests are in statistical problems in forensic science. He consults with forensic agencies in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He produces and maintains expert systems software for the interpretation of evidence. He has experience as an expert witness in DNA and glass evidence, appearing in courts in the United States and Australia. He has very strong interests in statistical computing, and in automation projects. See all posts by James Curran »


  • avatar
    Mike McRanna

    I would love you to do a piece of analysis on the probability of that Norwegian family winning the lottery 3 times; each time while the mother was pregnant or had just given birth!

    5 years ago

    • avatar
      James Curran

      Thanks for the suggestion Mike. I’ll see if someone on the team is keen to post on it.

      5 years ago