Guzi, M., Kahanec, M., & Kabina, T. (2016). Codebook of the WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey. Amsterdam: WageIndicator Foundation.

Guzi, M., Kahanec, M., & Kabina, T. (2016). Codebook of the WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey. Amsterdam: WageIndicator Foundation.

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ABSTRACT


WageIndicator operates a Cost of Living Survey asking the prices of in total 380 items (see Section 2), relevant to identify a living wage. This survey is posted on all national WageIndicator websites and is in the national languages. In 2015, the Cost of Living Survey was offered in 46 languages and in 84 countries, with more countries and languages expected in 2016. The websites attract millions of visitors, because they publish urgently needed but usually not easy accessible information for the public at large. Through Search Engine Optimisation the WageIndicator Foundation undertakes large efforts to attract visitors, in 2015 resulting in more than 30 million unique visitors. The web visitors are invited to complete the survey, either for one item or for all. Apart from the survey questions about prices, the survey includes a question about the respondent’s province and city in order to specify for geographical variation in cost of living levels. Hence, the web survey is a multi-country, multilingual, continuous, volunteer web survey. The list of items is mostly similar across countries, but the food items include country-specific items, thereby reflecting national food preferences. See for an explanation of the data collection and the list of items, Guzi and Kahance (2014), Guzi (2015) and Guzi et al. (2015). See for the list of countries with a Cost of Living survey: http://www.wageindicator.org/main/salary/living-wage/wageindicator-cost-ofliving-survey).

For projects, Cost of Living data has been collected by interviewers, in addition to the online survey. An example comes from the province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, where in 2014-15 more than 70 students of the Workers College in Durban collected a total of 28,731 prices for the list of 80 items (Kabina 2015). An observation in the Cost-of-Living dataset refers to the price entered for one item. The first three months of 2016 the dataset has in total 71240 observations from respondents from 75 countries. Most observations were available for Milk (regular, pasteurized and pre-packaged), Loaf of Fresh White Bread, and Rice (cheapest available), each had more than 2,000 observations.

The database is available upon request