During an economic depression, it is common for food prices to increase even as incomes decrease. Surprisingly, however, researchers determined that during a depression, for every 5 percent increase in the cost of bread, the lowest socioeconomic class actually increases the amount of bread purchased per capita by 3 percent.
Which of the following hypotheses best accounts for the researchers’ findings?
(A) Not all food costs increase during a depression; some food items actually become less expensive.
(B) Because bread consumption does not increase by the same percentage as the cost does, people are likely consuming more of other food items to compensate.
(C) When incomes decrease, people are typically forced to spend a larger proportion of their income on basic needs, such as food and housing.
(D) People who suddenly cannot afford more expensive foods, such as meat, must compensate by consuming more inexpensive foods, such as grains.
(E) During a depression, people in the lowest socioeconomic class will continue to spend the same amount of money on food as they did before the depression began.
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