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Vinny Gambini
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Q17 - The widespread staff reductions

by Mikey Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:55 pm

I'm having a really hard time trying to figure out why (A) is the right answer. (E) seems to make a lot more sense to me, why is (E) wrong?
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Atticus Finch
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Re: Q17 - The widespread staff reductions

by ohthatpatrick Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:29 pm

Thanks for bringing this question to the forum!

Question Type: Analyze Argument Structure (describe method)

Task: pick an answer choice that matches the stimulus


conclusion - people's actual spending has not gone down


even though mass layoffs are supposedly making people more cautious about spending,
premise - there hasn't been an unusual increase in people's savings accounts

We're not trying to debate the logic here, just to describe it.

The author began with an opposing point. People other than the author are thinking that people WITH jobs are holding onto their money more because they are seeing other people get fired from jobs.

The author is attempting to counter this notion by pointing to savings account levels, which presumably are a way in which we might diagnose whether people are spending less and saving more.

Let's look for something that matches.


(A) If I were trying to make this match, I would think
SUPPOSED DEVELOPMENT = widespread layoffs
EXPECTED CONSEQUENCE = people w/ jobs spend less, save more

The author argues against the expected consequence, but the author does NOT conclude that the supposed development did not take place. Did the author say, "Therefore, there have NOT been widespread layoffs"?

(B) Can't seem to match anything up with "Two predictable consequences of a certain kind of behavior". Moving on.

(C) This has an extreme ring to it --- "ONLY misinformation or error will cause ____ "? That doesn't resemble anything we read.

(D) What are the "two alternative developments"? Moving on.

(E) This looks kind of promising.
EVIDENCE CONCERNING A SUPPOSED CHANGE IS AMBIGUOUS = supposedly people changed by spending less and saving more ... the evidence concerning that would be the amount of money held in their savings accounts ... is that evidence 'ambiguous'? Not really. I mean, he says "there has been NO unusual increase". That's definitive.
CONCLUDING THE CHANGE MOST LIKELY DID NOT TAKE PLACE = people probably did not start spending less, saving more. Hmm, that doesn't match the conclusion. It doesn't hedge its wording and say "most likely". It says "Spending is undiminished." That's definitive.

Since I've crossed out all five, I'd have to see if I can revisit any of these and make them work.

Returning to (A) what if we start by making the conclusion line up ...
The conclusion is saying that "diminished spending did not take place".
So that's usable, I guess.

What is AN EXPECTED CONSEQUENCE of "diminished spending"?
Oh! The idea that people would have more money in their savings accounts.

So (A) actually can work fine.

Since people don't have more money in their savings accounts, the diminished spending did not take place.

(A) is the correct answer.

Maybe other people matched (A) up properly the first time, but I was trying to model potential confusion.

What's wrong with my assigning
SUPPOSED DEVELOPMENT to "widespread layoffs"?

That's not a "supposed" development; it's an actual, definite thing that happened.

"Supposed development" = "are SAID to be causing ... people w/ jobs to spend less"
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Vinny Gambini
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Re: Q17 - The widespread staff reductions

by Mikey Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:29 am

Great explanation! Thanks so much, I understand it now. Originally I had it down to A and E but figured E made a lot more sense, but after reading your reply it is much clearer now.
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Vinny Gambini
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Re: Q17 - The widespread staff reductions

by Yu440 Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:46 pm


I answered this question correctly but I'm slightly confused by the wording of choice B. Can someone give me an example of a situation that fits the description of B please? Thanks!