A This point merely tells us how much coffee consumption has decreased it does

A this point merely tells us how much coffee

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A This point merely tells us how much coffee consumption has decreased; it does not make the explanation offered in the conclusion any less likely to be correct. B Withdrawal symptoms would occur only after decreased consumption has occurred and so cannot explain why the decrease occurred.
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C Suppose that the specialty coffees that had their sales hold steady were all caffeine-free coffees; note that nothing rules this out. If this were the case, the explanation would remain plausible. D An increase in the consumption of these drinks could plausibly be the result of some coffee drinkers switching to these drinks to avoid the negative effects of caffeine. E Correct. This statement properly identifies a plausible alternative explanation and therefore undermines the given explanation. The correct answer is E. 46. Which of the following best completes the passage below? When the products of several competing suppliers are perceived by consumers to be essentially the same, classical economics predicts that price competition will reduce prices to the same minimal levels and all suppliers’ profits to the same minimal levels. Therefore, if classical economics is true, and given suppliers’ desire to make as much profit as possible, it should be expected that . (A) in a crowded market widely differing prices will be charged for products that are essentially the same as each other (B) as a market becomes less crowded as suppliers leave, the profits of the remaining suppliers will tend to decrease (C) each supplier in a crowded market will try to convince consumers that its product differs significantly from its competitors’ products. (D) when consumers are unable to distinguish the products in a crowded market, consumers will judge that the higher-priced products are of higher quality (E) suppliers in crowded markets will have more incentive to reduce prices and thus increase sales than to introduce innovations that would distinguish their product from their competitors’ products Argument Construction Situation Classical economics holds that prices and profits are minimal when consumers perceive the products of competing suppliers to be the same. Reasoning According to classical economics, what strategy are suppliers most likely to use to maximize profits in such a situation? The given information states that the force driving prices and profits down in this case is the consumers’ perception that the competing products are essentially the same. It is reasonable to assume that, with prices already at minimal levels , it is not possible to lower them any more. What can be done? The suppliers’ most likely strategy
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would then be to change the consumers’ perception of their products. It can be expected that an individual supplier would try to convince consumers that its product greatly differs from (and is certainly preferable to) the products of its competitors.
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