On Re-Imagining the Role of Big Mac Index in Promoting International Economic Diplomacy: Some Perspectives

Ullas Rao, Paul J. Hopkinson, N. R. Parasuraman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The Big Mac Index (BMI) developed by “The Economist” in 1986 remains one of the most profoundly influential economic indices to gauge the relative valuation of currencies vis-à-vis price of “hamburgers” lending comparability across economies in wake of unmatched advantage emerging from product standardization (Big Mac is produced to conform exactly similar standards of quality across all the McDonald restaurants operating in different parts of the globe.). Interestingly, the Big Mac has also garnered sufficient publicity among policymakers and thinktanks alike within the realms of international economic diplomacy—thanks in part, to the burgeoning debates revolving around valuation of currencies (over or undervalued) emergent in the new world trade order (WTO or World Trade Organisation has increasingly come under intense attack for failing to dispense the role of effective policing the rules of international trade with emerging markets [EM] and developing economies trading barbs for differential treatments on international trade in relation to developed economies [DM].).

The relegation of WTO in relevance owing to emergence of new calibrations on part of influential economies surrounding international trade has given way to new narratives on currency valuation with its concomitant impact on domestic economy and policymaking. “Trade wars” between the two of the largest economies accompanied by accusations of “currency manipulation” have altogether added a fascinating dimension to the humble role played by the BMI. In this chapter, we investigate the divergent issues at play in respect of the Big Mac by screening through the prism of both developed economies (DM) and emerging markets (EM).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Indices for International Economic Diplomacy
EditorsV. Charles, A. Emrouznejad
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030845353
ISBN (Print)9783030845346
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2022


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