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Throughout European history famines have generally been followed

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Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2017, 03:25
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Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT

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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2017, 04:25
broall wrote:
Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT


4 out of 5 answer choices will explain the anomaly observed in Ireland i.e no change in labor supply

Option A says that the labor supply (able bodied individuals) did not decline because of improved medical care
Option B says that the labor supply (able bodied individuals) did not decline because of eviction policies
Option C says that due to advancement in tech the demand for labor did not increase. Hence, supply demand was not disturbed
Option D talks about the population as a whole. However, the argument is only concerned with able-bodied labor supply.
Option E says that the labor supply (able bodied individuals) did not decline because of influx of labor from England
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 02:58
broall wrote:
Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT


Hi Broall,
Why option C as OA is incorrect.
In option D,Lots more babies born during the decade after. Are those babies going to replace the workers that were lost? Not within that decade - they're babies / little kids. So you apparently still have fewer workers than needed... so why didn't the wages go up?
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 07:07
sunny91 wrote:
broall wrote:
Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT


Hi Broall,
Why option C as OA is incorrect.
In option D,Lots more babies born during the decade after. Are those babies going to replace the workers that were lost? Not within that decade - they're babies / little kids. So you apparently still have fewer workers than needed... so why didn't the wages go up?



Question is about has LEAST useful to the explanation and as per your thinking - Having babies born is least useful to explain the given exception.
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 23:48
sunny91 wrote:
broall wrote:
Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT


Hi Broall,
Why option C as OA is incorrect.
In option D,Lots more babies born during the decade after. Are those babies going to replace the workers that were lost? Not within that decade - they're babies / little kids. So you apparently still have fewer workers than needed... so why didn't the wages go up?


You could find the explanation in fmik7894's post above.

I will set an example to illustrate each option.
Normally, a country could produce 100 products with 100 workers. Due to famines, half of poplation die so the number of remaining workers is 50. Hence, the products produced will be 50. According to supply and demand rule, the price will increase so the wage will increase as well.

In C, because of advances in technology, even with famines, the output is still 100 products so the price remains unchanged. Hence, the wage won't increase as expected. Choice C is good at explaning the exception.

In D, there is a gap between this answer choice and the argument: the argument focuses on the workers, who are adults and could work, not the whole population, including the older and babies, who cannot work. Thus, even if the population increases, the labor supply still decreases so the wage is supposed to increase. This answer choice can't explain the exception as the correct answer.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2018, 21:45
broall wrote:
sunny91 wrote:
broall wrote:
Throughout European history famines have generally been followed by period of rising wages, because when a labor force is diminished, workers are more valuable in accordance with the law of supply and demand. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is an exception; it resulted in the death or emigration of half of Ireland's population, but there was no significant rise in the average wages in Ireland in the following decade.

Which one of the following, if true, would LEAST contribute to an explanation of the exception to the generalization?

(A) Improved medical care reduced the mortality rate among able-bodied adults in the decade following the famine to below prefamine levels.

(B) Eviction policies of the landowners in Ireland were designed to force emigration of the elderly and infirm, who could not work, and to retain a high percentage of able-bodied workers.

(C) Advances in technology increased the efficiency of industry and agriculture, and so allowed maintenance of economic output with less demand for labor.

(D) The birth rate increased during the decade following the famine, and this compensated for much of the loss of population that was due to the famine.

(E) England, which had political control of Ireland, legislated artificially low wages to provide English-owned industry and agriculture in Ireland with cheap labor.

Source: LSAT


Hi Broall,
Why option C as OA is incorrect.
In option D,Lots more babies born during the decade after. Are those babies going to replace the workers that were lost? Not within that decade - they're babies / little kids. So you apparently still have fewer workers than needed... so why didn't the wages go up?


You could find the explanation in fmik7894's post above.

I will set an example to illustrate each option.
Normally, a country could produce 100 products with 100 workers. Due to famines, half of poplation die so the number of remaining workers is 50. Hence, the products produced will be 50. According to supply and demand rule, the price will increase so the wage will increase as well.

In C, because of advances in technology, even with famines, the output is still 100 products so the price remains unchanged. Hence, the wage won't increase as expected. Choice C is good at explaning the exception.

In D, there is a gap between this answer choice and the argument: the argument focuses on the workers, who are adults and could work, not the whole population, including the older and babies, who cannot work. Thus, even if the population increases, the labor supply still decreases so the wage is supposed to increase. This answer choice can't explain the exception as the correct answer.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Braoll,
I failed to notice that the question asked about least contribution and fell in trap to answer OA as C. D makes sense as it does not explain the discrepancy.
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2018, 05:14
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D is ok as long as minors were not employed.
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2019, 09:26
I see considerable issue with A.

Even though the mortality rate is below pre-famine rate, the famine must have reduced the population.

I.e pre famine there were 1000 people, of which 100 were dying.
Mortality rate being 10%

Post famine, there are 500 people, of which 10 are dying.
Mortality rate being 2%.

But even then, the the number of able-bodied man may have gone down. Mortality rate itself doesn't say anything.

Pls explain.

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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2019, 07:29
Choice (B), in my understanding, says that eviction policies drove away the population that couldn't work and kept many of able-bodied workers??? <= so after the famine, labor supply would actually DECREASE. This does not contribute to the explanation of the generalization.
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 12:17
exc4libur wrote:
Choice (B), in my understanding, says that eviction policies drove away the population that couldn't work and kept many of able-bodied workers??? <= so after the famine, labor supply would actually DECREASE. This does not contribute to the explanation of the generalization.

We are trying to explain why wages did not increase despite the population decreasing in Ireland, during the decade following the potato famine.

(B) tells us that eviction policies forced the elderly and infirm to emigrate, while a high percentage of able bodied workers remained in Ireland. So even though the overall population decreased, the labor supply did NOT decrease that much in comparison. The supply of labor was not heavily impacted by emigration, which provides one explanation for stagnant wages in Ireland in the decade following the famine.

Because (E) contributes to the explanation, it is not the correct answer.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Throughout European history famines have generally been followed   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2019, 12:17
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