What is the Big Mac Index?

Ever heard of the Big Mac Index? This blog post will explore what makes up the index and why economists believe it can help understand currency fluctuations and purchasing power.


by Vinicius Barbosa

Published on 02/12/2023

How the Big Mac Index measures global economies

What does a Big Mac have to do with the stocks market? Source: Adobe Stock.

Have you ever heard of the Big Mac Index? It’s an economic concept that compares the purchasing power between different currencies worldwide. 

You may be wondering what a fast food item has to do with economics; that is where this blog post comes in! 

In it, we’ll explore exactly what this index is. And why economists believe it can help understand currency fluctuations and purchasing power. 

So, grab your favorite snack, sit back, and get ready as we dive into what makes up the Big Mac Index.

checking points in stock market

What is a point in the stock market?

Wondering what is a point stock market? We will break it down for you and explain what exactly this term means.

The Big Mac Index: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

It’s the classic measuring stick for comparison, not just of a product but an entire economy. This has been popularly termed the Big Mac Index. 

Little surprise, then, that this comparative measure is one of the most widely accepted and used indices globally. 

It can tell us a lot about how our national currency stands up against markets in other countries by comparing prices across different nations. 

So why exactly do we refer to it as ‘Big Mac’? And what significance does it have beyond being just another index? Let’s dive right in and find out!

Big Mac Index Definition

The Big Mac Index is not new. Source: Adobe Stock.

The Big Mac Index is a tool invented by The Economist in 1986. Used to compare the cost of a Big Mac in different countries worldwide. 

It correlates economic power with the local price for Big Macs. As currency exchange rates can affect relative prices due to differing purchasing power between countries.

In addition to comparing Big Mac prices and currencies. The Big Mac Index provides insight into the global price of goods and services in monetarily different areas. Helping international traders and investors come up with fair exchange rates. 

This index has become increasingly popular as a growing indicator of global economic trends. 

Showcasing a fascinating view of which currencies are undervalued or overvalued relative to each other.

Example of the Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index has become a popular tool for economists to evaluate purchasing power parity (PPP) between different currencies. 

Evaluating pricing data from McDonald’s Big Mac sandwiches across different countries. The Economist concluded in January 2019 that the British pound was undervalued by 27% against the U.S. dollar. 

However, this implied exchange rate of 0.57% was sharply lower than the actual rate of 0.78%. 

Despite its convenience and popularity, The Big Mac Index is far from perfect methodology. 

As McDonald’s only has outlets in 118 out of 195 countries. This index cannot analyze the PPP between all major currencies worldwide.

The Big Mac Index limitations

The Big Mac Index (BMI) is a valuable tool in helping to compare the cost of goods between countries. 

However, it also has some limitations related to geographical coverage. Considering McDonald’s franchises are only available in certain areas around the world. 

For instance, McDonald’s can be found only in Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa on the continent of Africa, which the Big Mac Index reflects. 

A counter index called the KFC Index was made specifically to represent the Original 15 pc. bucket price and data instead. 

happy woman eating dark chocolate

Foods that make you happy – according to science!

Do you know which foods make you happy? Here's a list of the best happiness-inducing eats, perfect for putting a smile on your face when you’re feeling a bit down.

Another limitation to consider with the Big Mac Index is that it may be inaccurate due to cost differences among locations within one country. 

For example, while Russia had lower Big Mac prices overall compared to other places at its time in 2019, Moscow was still named one of the most expensive cities in the world during this period. 

In this situation, pricing wasn’t reflective of Big Macs but more expensive restaurants and English-speaking staff members compared to budget-friendly food ingredients.

Big Mac Index Variants

Curiously, the Big Mac can be an economic indicator. Source: Canva.

The Big Mac Index has been the subject of several variants over the years. The Economist, for instance, once published a “Tall Latte Index” in which Big Mac prices were replaced with Starbucks coffee prices. 

In 2007, an Australian bank tried a variation of their own and replaced Big Macs with iTunes music players. Bloomberg has its own index, replacing Big Macs with IKEA’s Billy series of bookshelves. 

Most recently, the comparison platform Versus came out with its own version, the Chai Latte Global Index. 

All these variants show that Big Macs remain one of the most popular economic indicators and clearly represent global price differences.

The Big Mac Index is a helpful tool for economists to measure currency fluctuations and purchasing power. 

While it may not be 100% accurate, the index does give a pretty good indication of how strong or weak a currency is in relation to others. 

Next time you’re enjoying a delicious burger from McDonald’s, remember that there’s more to it than just great taste!

What is Ben and Jerry’s stock symbol?

When it comes to choosing an ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s is one of the best-known and most popular brands. 

But have you ever wondered whether or not it’s possible to actually invest in the company? 

Whether you’re a regular consumer or a smart investor looking to diversify your portfolio, understanding Ben & Jerry’s stock symbol is key to making educated decisions about investing in this iconic ice cream brand.

In the next post, we’ll cover the company’s stock symbol. And highlight other important things investors should know before purchasing shares. Read on for more.

young woman eating ice cream

What is Ben and Jerry’s stock symbol?

Curious about the stock symbol for your favorite ice cream company? We'll show you everything you need to know! Stay tuned!

About the author

Vinicius Barbosa

Vinicius Barbosa is a writer of finance-related content on this portal. Graduated in Social Communication, he writes about everything that involves the world of finances, from credit card recommendations to investment tips, for readers who want to make better decisions when it comes time to spend their money or invest wisely.

Trending Topics


See how to apply for the LendingPoint Personal Loan

Learn how simple and quick it is to apply for the LendingPoint Personal Loan and get the money you need at competitive rates.

Keep Reading

See how to apply for the Mission Money™ debit card

Want an easy way to get your hands on some cash? Apply for the Mission Money™ debit card and have your funds available anytime, anywhere.

Keep Reading

How to effectively de-stress and live better

Stress can have a negative impact on your wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you effectively de-stress and regain your equilibrium.

Keep Reading

You may also like


Upgrade Personal Loan review: Get your dream project funded today!

Check out our Upgrade personal loan review to see if why is right for you. With low, fixed rates, it may be just what you're looking for!

Keep Reading

10 billionaires that got richer during covid pandemics

While the world has struggled, the super-rich has seen their wealth skyrocket. Meet the billionaires who got richer during pandemics.

Keep Reading

Learn how to download songs from Spotify

Take control of your music library and learn how to download songs from Spotify while you're offline with our easy steps!

Keep Reading