RTE of Ireland reported in their online edition yesterday that an annual study of the cost of living* in the world's cities conducted by Mercer Human Resources, whoever they are, found that Dublin had moved up one notch from last year. They indexed city prices against those found in New York, assigning that city a value of 100.

From the RTE article:
In a study covering 144 cities on six continents, it measures the cost of more than 200 items in the housing, transport, food and entertainment sectors.
...
1 TOKYO Japan 134.7
2 OSAKA Japan 121.8
3 LONDON United Kingdom 120.3
4 MOSCOW Russia 119
5 SEOUL South Korea 115.4
6 GENEVA Switzerland 113.5
7 ZURICH Switzerland 112.18= COPENHAGEN Denmark 109.5
8= HONG KONG Hong Kong 109.5

10 OSLO Norway 105.3
11 MILAN Italy 104.9
12 PARIS France 102.213= NEW YORK CITY, NY United States 100
13= DUBLIN Ireland 100

15 ST PETERSBURG Russia 99.5
16 VIENNA Austria 97.8
17 ROME Italy 97.3
18 STOCKHOLM Sweden 96.8
19 BEIJING China 95.6
20 SYDNEY Australia 95.2

This listing would be next to useless to anyone wanting to compare the actual cost of living in one city with that in another. The largest item in most people's budget is the cost of housing, but it appears that Mercer didn't assign weighting values to the prices of the items they measured. If they had, Paris wouldn't have been listed above New York, it'd have been well below it. Apartment rents in Dublin are high, but from the listing someone might conclude that a New York apartment equivalent to the $1400 a month apartment that can be rented in Dublin would rent for roughly the same amount!
Londoners would best know housing costs there, but I'd find it hard to believe the true cost of living in London is anything like 20% higher than in New York.
Who cares about the price of a dress or an appliance when such a large chunk of your paycheck each month goes to pay the rent or the mortgage payment? That's my point.
Only a goofball, of course, would suggest that Oslo is 5% more expensive to live in than New York, or that Moscow is a whopping 19% more. The article didn't actually say that, but it implied it, and, I suspect, that is how most readers took it. Statistics can be misleading.
It'd be interesting to see a list of the top 20 cities based on the actual cost of living, not simply taking the prices of items in a number of categories into account. I couldn't possibly do it for the world's cities, but I could make a start with some of the major and not-so-major ones in the US, plus a few cities in Europe and one or two in Japan. Only one in Canada: rents and many things in Old Town Quebec are dirt cheap, relative to New York. (Nice town, too.)

*In fairness, the phrase 'cost of living' doesn't appear in the article, but with the opening sentence being 'Dublin has been ranked as the 13th most expensive city in the world' and with what followed, few people would think they were talking about something else. Evan, Donna, and I would know, but not everyone is Evan, Donna, or me.

Charles Riggs
There are no accented letters in my email address
RTE of Ireland reported in their online edition yesterday that an annual study of the cost of living* in the ... they were talking about something else. Evan, Donna, and I would know, but not everyone is Evan, Donna, or me.

Although it should be taken cum grano salis, the list looks accurate enough to me. The research company compares like-for-like purchases in the various cities, and the results are what I would expect. And I'm not sure why you're trying to second-guess other people's interpretation of the figures.

Adrian
RTE of Ireland reported in their online edition yesterday that ... would know, but not everyone is Evan, Donna, or me.

Although it should be taken cum grano salis, the list looks accurate enough to me. The research company compares like-for-like ... are what I would expect. And I'm not sure why you're trying to second-guess other people's interpretation of the figures.

There was no second-guessing. How the average person would interpel the article is as clear as a bell to anyone in touch with the Essential Mind. Perhaps it was clear to you, but you were merely being obstreperous; it is hard to say.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Having done a few hundred cost of living surveys I ... not, they should be hunted down with dogs and killed.

Does not our own wonderful Australian government base the cost of living on the value of a shopping basket which lacks a number of items normal to most people's lives?

That's probably because the included items are intended to represent a wide range of similar and similarly price-volatile (can't think of a better term) goods. There's also inertia. Petticoats were in Britain's Retail Price Index basket until a year or two ago even though few people wore them and mobile phones and laptops didn't feature until this year.

Other new inclusions this year: chiropractic medicine, carpenters' 'fees' (I thought only 'professionals' received fees), frozen chicken nuggets, champagne, leather furniture, cigarettes bought at vending machines, popcorn bought in cinemas, infants' trousers (replaces infants' dungarees), hamsters, wooden patio sets (replaces plastic patio sets - there's posh!), and frying pans.
Removed from the basket: baguettes, childrens' shorts, cycle helmets, food processors.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=318

It looks like a fiendishly difficult job - and perhaps an art rather than a science.

Mickwick
Does not our own wonderful Australian government base the cost ... lacks a number of items normal to most people's lives?

That's probably because the included items are intended to represent a wide range of similar and similarly price-volatile (can't think ... helmets, food processors. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=318 It looks like a fiendishly difficult job - and perhaps an art rather than a science.

It is. We did a survey of the cost of living in slightly remote area of SEA, the objective of which was to justify an increase in the cost of living allowance. Unfortunately the numbers did not come out "right". I was called in to investigate what was wrong.
Well, actually nothing was "wrong". Just about everything that could be bought there was cheaper than in the capital city. The problem was that there was a helluva lot of stuff that could not be found.
The real problem was boredom; the solution was to add in more airfares for shopping in the big city.
Another 8%, meticulously justified.
Izzy
Removed from the basket: baguettes, childrens' shorts

Replaced by Danish pastries and longs, respectively?

Ross Howard
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
The real problem was boredom; the solution was to add in more airfares for shopping in the big city. Another 8%, meticulously justified.

More* airfares? More *airfares? Let them eat buses, I say.

Mickwick
The real problem was boredom; the solution was to add in more airfares for shopping in the big city. Another 8%, meticulously justified.

More* airfares? More *airfares? Let them eat buses, I say. Mickwick

Put a wife on a bus there, you might never see her again.

Izzy