I would like to see research that shows the decline of comic revenue with the increase of cover prices...
True; we hear the issue raised, but of course it's hard to verify. It could very well be a situation like with Major League Baseball (or the NFL, NBA, etc) where the owners bemoan that they need to cut costs because it's just such a darned tough economy don't you know, and poor little old they aren't making any money don't you know. All the while they're selling out 30,000 seat stadiums 60 times a year at 20 bucks plus a pop, plus concessions and advertising etc etc etc. Unless the owners are eating diamonds for breakfast and fueling their Maseratis with $100 bills (which may be happening), they're doing all right.
It's just often in a business' interest to make it seem like they're limping along so people will go along with their cost cutting and price hiking.