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Q22 - Consumer advocate: Economists reason that price gougin

by mshinners Fri Dec 31, 1999 8:00 pm

Question Type:
Determine the Function

Stimulus Breakdown:
A consumer advocate takes issue with economists who think price gouging is efficient. Since willingness to pay depends on how much money you have, the practice (according to the advocate) actually just gives stuff to rich people.

Answer Anticipation:
The statement in question appears after the "But", so it's part of the author's argument. Since the author's argument goes on to say, "As a result" (which introduces a conclusion), this must be a premise. What role does it serve in that capacity? It's a rebuttal of something from the first argument.

Correct answer:
(E)

Answer choice analysis:
(A) Tempting. Definitely leave this on the first pass because of "disputes", which is synonymous with "rebuttal". However, the statement in question disputes the reasoning given for why price gouging is efficient. For this answer to be correct ("in order to make way for an alternative explanation"), the author would then have to go on to offer an alternative explanation for why price gouging is efficient, which he doesn't do.

(B) Wrong role. The last statement is the overall conclusion.

(C) Wrong role. This answer choice describes a premise of the opposing point. Since the statement in question is after the pivot, this is incorrect.

(D) Wrong role. Again, this answer describes a part of the opposing point.

(E) Bingo. On the first pass, I'd be between this and (E). The economists assume that willingness to pay = need, and assumption with which the author takes issue. And, in rejecting the assumption, the author rejects the conclusion, as well.

Takeaway/Pattern: Determine the Function questions tend to be on the easier side, so if you see one as question 22, expect it to be a doozy. Complicated argument structure, abstract answers. Take your time, and be sure to fully understand the answers that are in play. Here, it'd be important to note that the statement in question is the author's rebuttal to quickly limit it to (A) and (E), so you would have more time to really parse those answers (especially (A), which was almost certainly slotted first so you'd fall for it before looking at the others).

#officialexplanation
 
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Re: Q22 - Consumer advocate: Economists reason that price gougin

by HannahM495 Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:10 pm

This is a late reply, but hopefully someone sees this!

I understand the logic above in explaining the benefits of E to A; my hurdle with this problem, I think, was the wording of answer (E).

"It denies a claim that the argument takes to be assumed in the reasoning it rejects."
I had such a hard time deciphering this! Could anyone put this in layman's terms or simplify what it's saying? I quite literally said to myself, "I don't even understand what E is saying so it's just gotta be A." Whoops :shock:

So the claim that "willingness to pay is not proportional to need" is a premise effectively denying an assumption of the reasoning the consumer advocate is trying to disprove?...The assumption being that price gouging's efficiency comes from need-based resource allocation? I guess I just wouldn't have identified that part of the economists' argument as an "assumption," maybe that's what threw me off? Lots of question marks because I'm still pretty lost on this one lol.
 
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Re: Q22 - Consumer advocate: Economists reason that price gougin

by MingL143 Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:05 pm

I chose “B”.

A main conclusion is two things: 1, opinion and 2, whether it is supported. To test it, use “therefore”

In this argument: Bevause “in real world, some people simply cannot pay as much as others”, “As a result, a price increase will allocate goods to the people with the most money, not to those with the most need” . This is intermediate conclusion. Therefore, “willingness to pay is not proportional to need.”

You can’t say because “willingness to pay is not proportional to need”, therefore, “ a price increase will....”

Right?
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Re: Q22 - Consumer advocate: Economists reason that price gougin

by ohthatpatrick Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:15 pm

You're right that the claim in question is definitely a conclusion, but only an intermediate one.

Why isn't willingness to pay proportional to need?
Because some people simply can't pay as much as others.

But I don't think we would include the final sentence as a premise for that idea.

Why isn't willingness to pay proportional to need?
Because a price increase will allocate goods to the ppl with the most money, not the most need.


This is a weird justification, since it's bringing up "price increase", which isn't even a part of the original claim.

I think the argument would most logically flow like this:

1. some people simply can't pay as much as others
THUS
2. willingness to pay isn't proportional to need
THUS
3. price gouging allocates goods to people with most money, not most need.
THUS
4. the argument economists present for price gouging is flawed.



We wouldn't call the claim in question the main conclusion, because the author wouldn't want you to leave this paragraph with the main takeaway that "willingness to pay isn't proportional to need".

She wants you to leave the paragraph thinking, "The economists are wrong about price gouging".

As such, the "overall conclusion" would be implied / tacit / invisible.
I'm sure that seems frustrating and unfair.

ANALOGY:
A lot of people think that San Francisco is the most expensive place to live, because the average cost of a one bedroom apartment there is more than that in Manhattan. But a one bedroom apartment in SF isn't fair to compare to a one bedroom apt in NYC. The average square footage of apt's in SF is greater than those in NYC and the appliances are more modern. As a result, you're actually getting a better value for your housing dollars in SF.

If we made this author's conclusion "a one bedroom apt in SF isn't fair to compare to one in NYC" , we'd lose the overall gist of the counterargument because this conclusion wouldn't be saying anything about the cost of living in SF or NY.

Similarly, if we made (B) the main conclusion, we're losing the broader context of "Economists, your argument for price gouging sucks."