nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2008‒10‒07
nineteen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Water Losses and Hydrographical Regions Influence on the Cost Structure of the Portuguese Water Industry By Rita Martins; Fernando Coelho; Adelino Fortunato
  2. Assessing the geographic impact of higher food prices in Guinea By Coulombe, Harold; Wodon, Quentin
  3. Impact of rising rice prices and policy responses in Mali : simulations with a dynamic CGE model By Nouve, Kofi; Wodon, Quentin
  4. A Taxonomy of Instruments to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and their Interactions By Romain Duval
  5. Potential impact of higher food prices on poverty : summary estimates for a dozen west and central African countries By Wodon, Quentin; Tsimpo, Clarence; Backiny-Yetna, Prospere; Joseph, George; Adoho, Franck; Coulombe, Harold
  6. Assessing the potential impact on poverty of rising cereals prices : the case of Ghana By Wodon, Quentin; Tsimpo, Clarence; Coulombe, Harold
  7. Unintended Consequences: The Spillover Effects of Common Property Regulations By Gordon Rausser; Stephen Hamilton; Marty Kovach; Ryan Stifter
  8. The relevance of a rules-based maize marketing policy : an experimental case study of Zambia By Abbink, Klaus; Jayne, Thomas S.; Moller, Lars C.
  9. Smallholders' use of Bt-cotton under unfavourable context: lessons from South Africa By Michel Fok; Marnus Gouse; Jean-Luc Hofs; Johann Kirsten
  10. Rice prices and poverty in Liberia By Tsimpo, Clarence; Wodon, Quentin
  11. Innovation and food system sustainability: public concerns vs. private interests By Valeria Sodano
  12. Distillers Dried Grain Product Innovation and Its Impact on Adoption, Inclusion, Substitution, and Displacement Rates in a Finishing Hog Ration By Jacinto F. Fabiosa
  13. Rising food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa : poverty impact and policy responses By Wodon, Quentin; Zaman, Hassan
  14. How Similar to South-Eastern Europe were the Islands of Cyprus and Malta in terms of Agricultural Output and Credit? Evidence during the Interwar Period. By Alexander Apostolides
  15. When Consumption Generates Social Capital: Creating Room for Manoeuvre for Pro-Poor Policies By Leonardo Becchetti; Melania Michetti
  16. Encumbering Harvest Rights to Protect Marine Environments: A Model of Marine Conservation Easements By Robert Deacon; Dominic Parker
  17. Industry Risk Moderates the Relation between Environmental and Financial Performance By Semenova, Natalia; Hassel, Lars
  18. Land Cover Change in Mixed Agroforestry: Shade Coffee in El Salvador By Blackman, Allen; Ávalos-Sartorio, Beatriz; Chow, Jeffrey
  19. Comparing the impact of food and energy price shocks on consumers : a social accounting matrix analysis for Ghana By Parra, Juan Carlos; Wodon, Quentin

  1. By: Rita Martins (Faculty of Economics,University of Coimbra); Fernando Coelho; Adelino Fortunato (Faculty of Economics and GEMF,University of Coimbra)
    Abstract: There is a consensus that the emphasis on the management of water resources should be put on demand side policies. However, some questions remain to be solved on the supply side, which are frequently absent from empirical studies based on the estimation of cost functions. This paper aims to fill to some extent this gap in the literature by focusing the consequences of water losses reduction and the management of water resources based on their availability at an integrated river basin level. Major findings indicate that it would be better in terms of costs to maintain some level of water losses than to repair the leaks and suggest advantages from more concentration in the Portuguese water industry. In addition, the costs do not seem to be systematically influenced by the hydrographical regions to which water utilities belong, what might be due to the absence of appropriate cost accounting methods.
    Keywords: Prewater utilities, water losses, river basins, multi-product cost function
    JEL: L11 L95 Q25
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Coulombe, Harold; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: Telling a policy maker that poverty will increase due to the recent increase in food prices is not very useful; telling the policy makers where the impact is likely to be larger is better, so that measures to cope with the impact of the crisis can be targeted to areas that need them the most. This paper shows how to use poverty mapping techniques to assess where higher food prices are likely to hurt the most using Guinea census and survey data as a case study. The results suggest that in the case of a rice price increase, the poorest areas of the country will not be the hardest hit, especially if the potential positive impact of higher food prices on rice producers is taken into account, in which case poverty may decline in some of these areas even if for the country as a whole poverty will increase significantly due to the large share of rice in the household consumption budget.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Population Policies,Small Area Estimation Poverty Mapping,Achieving Shared Growth
    Date: 2008–10–01
  3. By: Nouve, Kofi; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: The increase in the international price of rice is likely to have substantial negative impacts on the poor in countries such as Mali which are net importers of rice. This paper relies on a dynamic CGE model to estimate the likely impact of the recent increase in rice prices on poverty with and without policy responses. Two sets of policy responses are considered: import tax cuts on rice and measures to increase productivity of domestic rice production. The results suggest that an increase in productivity would have a much larger positive impact than a reduction in taxes.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Markets and Market Access,Food&Beverage Industry,Rural Poverty Reduction,Crops&Crop Management Systems
    Date: 2008–10–01
  4. By: Romain Duval
    Abstract: This paper reviews alternative (national and international) climate change mitigation policy instruments and interactions across them. Carbon taxes, cap-and-trade schemes, standards and technology-support policies (R&D and clean technology deployment) in particular are assessed according to three broad costeffectiveness criteria, their: i) static efficiency, defined to cover not just whether the instrument is costeffective per se but also whether it provides sufficient political incentives for wide adoption; ii) dynamic efficiency, which implies an efficient level of innovation and diffusion of clean technologies in order to lower future abatement costs; iii) ability to cope effectively with climate and economic uncertainties. Multiple market failures and political economy obstacles need to be addressed in order to meet these criteria. In this regard, carbon taxes or cap-and-trade schemes appear to perform better than alternatives. However, their cost-effectivenes can be enhanced through targeted use of other instruments. There is therefore room for climate policy packages. <P>Une taxonomie des instruments de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et de leurs interactions <BR>Cet article passe en revue les différents instruments de politique économique (nationaux et internationaux) envisageables dans la lutte contre le changement climatique, ainsi que leurs interactions. Taxes carbone, marchés de permis négociables, standards et politiques de soutien au progrès technique (R&D et déploiement de technologies propres) en particulier sont évalués au regard de trois critères d’efficacité coût, à savoir: i) l'efficience statique, qui recouvre non seulement l’efficacité coût intrinsèque de l’instrument, mais aussi les incitations politiques à son adoption à grande échelle ; ii) l'efficience dynamique, impliquant un niveau efficient d’innovation et de diffusion des technologies propres permettant de réduire les coûts futurs de réduction des émissions ; iii) la capacité à s’adapter aux incertitudes climatiques et économiques. De multiples échecs de marché et obstacles relevant de l’économie politique doivent être surmontés pour vérifier ces critères. De ce point de vue, il apparaît que les taxes carbone et les marchés de permis négociables sont plus performants que les alternatives. Néanmoins, leur efficacité coût peut être améliorée par un usage ciblé des autres instruments. Il y a donc matière à la mise en place d’un éventail de politiques.
    Keywords: climate change, changement climatique, global warming, greenhouse gas, mitigation, international climate policy, réchauffement climatique, gaz à effet de serre, réduction des émissions, politique climatique international
    JEL: H23 Q54
    Date: 2008–09–17
  5. By: Wodon, Quentin; Tsimpo, Clarence; Backiny-Yetna, Prospere; Joseph, George; Adoho, Franck; Coulombe, Harold
    Abstract: Concerns have been raised about the impact of rising food prices worldwide on the poor. To assess the impact of rising food prices in any particular country it is necessary to look at both the impact on food producers who are poor or near-poor and could benefit from an increase in prices and food consumers who are poor or near-poor and would loose out when the price increases. In most West and Central African countries, the sign (positive or negative) of the impact is not ambiguous because a substantial share of food consumption is imported, so that the negative impact for consumers is larger than the positive impact for net sellers of locally produced foods. Yet even if the sign of the impact is clear, its magnitude is not. Using a set of recent and comprehensive household surveys, this paper summarizes findings from an assessment of the potential impact of higher food prices on the poor in a dozen countries. Rising food prices for rice, wheat, maize, and other cereals as well as for milk, sugar and vegetable oils could lead to a substantial increase in poverty in many of the countries. At the same time, the data suggest that the magnitude of the increase in poverty between different countries is likely to be different. Finally, the data suggest that a large share of the increase in poverty will consist of deeper levels of poverty among households who are already poor, even if there will also be a larger number of poor households in the various countries.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Food&Beverage Industry,Population Policies,Poverty Lines
    Date: 2008–10–01
  6. By: Wodon, Quentin; Tsimpo, Clarence; Coulombe, Harold
    Abstract: Concerns have been raised about the impact of rising food prices worldwide on the poor. To assess the (short term) impact of rising food prices in any particular country it is necessary to look at both the impact on food producers (who benefit from an increase in prices) and food consumers (who loose out when the price increases), with a focus on poor producers and consumers. In Ghana, the impact of a change in the price of rice is not ambiguous because a large share of the rice consumed is imported, so that the negative impact for consumers is much larger than the positive impact for producers. For maize by contrast, the impact is ambiguous since much of the consumption is locally produced. Using a recent and comprehensive household survey, this paper provides an assessment of the potential impact of higher food prices on the poor in Ghana using both simple statistical analysis and non-parametric methods. The paper finds that rising food prices for rice, maize, and other cereals would together lead to an increase in poverty, but that by contrast to a number of other countries, this increase, while not negligible, may not be as large as feared.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Population Policies,Food&Beverage Industry,Achieving Shared Growth
    Date: 2008–10–01
  7. By: Gordon Rausser (University of California, Berkeley); Stephen Hamilton (Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo); Marty Kovach (OnPoint Analytics); Ryan Stifter (OnPoint Analytics)
    Abstract: The closure of the Hawaiian longline swordfish fishery over the period 2001-2004, which was motivated by the protection of endangered sea turtles, created the elements of a natural experiment that allows identification of the market transfer of catch (and sea turtle by-catch) to other regions. This paper exploits the fact that the vessels in the Hawaiian longline fishery sell their catch in the US fresh swordfish market to analyze the pattern of changes in US fresh and frozen swordfish consumption both before and after the closure regulation was imposed. The mechanisms by which any unintended consequences on endangered sea turtles in other fishery locations in the world are shown to take place through the US swordfish market. At the estimated annual market transfer, a bootstrap analysis of the probability distribution of by-catch rates indicates that the regulation led to an additional 2,882 sea turtle interactions at the sample means.
    Keywords: Common property, fishery bycatch, market transfer,
    Date: 2008–03–25
  8. By: Abbink, Klaus; Jayne, Thomas S.; Moller, Lars C.
    Abstract: Strategic interaction between public and private actors is increasingly recognized as an important determinant of agricultural market performance in Africa and elsewhere. Trust and consultation tend to positively affect private activity while uncertainty of government behavior impedes it. This paper reports on a laboratory experiment based on a stylized model of the Zambian maize market. The experiment facilitates a comparison between discretionary interventionism and a rules-based policy in which the government pre-commits itself to a future course of action. A simple precommitment rule can, in theory, overcome the prevailing strategic dilemma by encouraging private sector participation. Although this result is also borne out in the economic experiment, the improvement in private sector activity is surprisingly small and not statistically significant due to irrationally cautious choices by experimental governments. Encouragingly, a rules-based policy promotes a much more stable market outcome, thereby substantially reducing the risk of severe food shortages. These results underscore the importance of predictable and transparent rules for the state's involvement in agricultural markets.
    Keywords: Markets and Market Access,Food&Beverage Industry,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Food Security,Access to Markets
    Date: 2008–09–01
  9. By: Michel Fok (Annual crop systems - CIRAD : UPR102); Marnus Gouse (Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development - University of Pretoria); Jean-Luc Hofs (Annual crop systems - CIRAD : UPR102); Johann Kirsten (Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development - University of Pretoria)
    Abstract: The bulk of the South African cotton crop is produced by large scale commercial farmers. Therefore it might be misleading to present South Africa’s impressive Genetically Modified Cotton (GMC) adoption figures as evidence of successful GMC use by smallholder farmers. The total South African cotton area and number of farmers decreased drastically since the introduction of GMC and this causes observers to question the so-called success story of GMC in South Africa. Nevertheless, the smallholders' commitment in using Bt-cotton has been real and still is. Several assessment studies have demonstrated how profitable the adoption of Bt-cotton could be, but they did not take into account the local context of agriculture. The study we have implemented during the 2002/03 cropping season took place in a year of erratic rainfalls and when the institutional framework of cotton production has furthermore evolved negatively. Our study hence provides additional information on the adoption of Bt-cotton when context turns to become unfavourable. In this case, the mere access to cotton production is restrained to a limited number of producers; the cotton production becomes financially more risky while the profitability of using Bt-cotton is nullified. The South African cotton sector struggles in an unstable production and market environment and smallholders, with limited resources and limited production, managerial and marketing capacity and choice, suffer most. Technology introduction on its own cannot sustainably increase production; factors like institutional arrangements play a vital role. This reminds us that rain-fed agriculture remains sensitive to climatic hazards and that new technology adoption under these conditions might increase financial risk associated with cotton production.
    Keywords: Cotton, South Africa, GMO, Bt, impact evaluation, profitability
    Date: 2008–01–08
  10. By: Tsimpo, Clarence; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: When assessing the impact of changes in food prices on poverty, it is important to consider food producers (who may benefit from an increase in prices) as well as consumers (who loose out when the price increases), with a focus on poor consumers and producers. In the case of rice in Liberia however, the impact of a change in price is not ambiguous because a large share of the rice consumed is imported, while the rice locally produced is used mostly for auto-consumption. An increase in the price of rice will result in higher poverty in the country as a whole (even if some local producers will gain from this increase), while a reduction in price will reduce poverty. Furthermore, because rice represents a large share of food consumption, any change in its price is likely to have a large impact on poverty. Using data from the 2007 CWIQ survey, the paper finds that an increase or decrease of 20 percent in the price of rice could lead to an increase or decrease of three to four percentage points in the share of the population in poverty.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Rural Poverty Reduction,Crops&Crop Management Systems,Population Policies
    Date: 2008–10–01
  11. By: Valeria Sodano
    Abstract: The food system negatively affects the environment, human health and the total well being of the society in many ways, causing: soil and water depletion, pollution due to the waste treatments, acid rains, desertification, climate change, ozone depletion and biodiversity loss. The paper endeavors to compare the needs of a sustainable food system with strategies actually carried out at private and public level. It is shown that while the process of trade liberalization is pushing towards market deregulation and decreasing state intervention, corporate social responsibility is very low and unable to tackle the huge environmental problems faced by the food system. The main conclusion of the paper is that the current competitive games played by leading firms are not in any way able to promote the sustainability of the new global food system and that more state intervention is requested in order to reach the goal.
    Keywords: innovation, sustainability, local food systems, fresh produce, participatory democracy.
    JEL: Q13 L81
    Date: 2008–09
  12. By: Jacinto F. Fabiosa (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD); Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI))
    Abstract: This study finds that the use of distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) as feed is greatly influenced by the development of DDGS products that are available in the market. We find that newer-generation DDGS products have a higher optimal inclusion rate, reaching the maximum allowable rate of 20% for swine, and they have a higher displacement rate of 0.23 for soymeal and 0.93 for corn. Although both traditional and newer-generation DDGS products are primarily used as a corn substitute for energy, it will take only a relatively small change in the price or matrix A (or both) for the newer-generation DDGS to primarily substitute for soymeal for the limiting amino acid, lysine. In contrast, traditional DDGS products have a lower optimal inclusion rate of 7%, and they have a lower displacement rate of 0.75 for corn and 0.08 for soy meal. This product is primarily used as a corn substitute for energy. When traditional DDGS is introduced in a feed ration, total feed cost declines by 2.64%, or a reduction of $0.29 per cwt of feed. This translates into a $2.17 per head savings in feed cost in a feeder-to-finish operation. Using newer-generation DDGS reduces feed cost by 9.88%, or a reduction of $1.08 per cwt of feed, saving feeder-finisher operations $8.06 per head. This study suggests that as a substitute product, the price of DDGS will track the price of both corn and soymeal. It will be more of the former until new-generation DDGS can be used as a primary substitute for soymeal and take a dominant share of the market. Finally, this study clearly points to the critical importance of DDG product innovation to promote widespread and optimal use of DDGS as a feed ingredient, thereby alleviating the food-feed-fuel trade-off.
    Keywords: biofuel, DDGS, DG, distillers dried grain with solubles, distillers grain, feeder-finisher, optimal feed ration.
    Date: 2008–09
  13. By: Wodon, Quentin; Zaman, Hassan
    Abstract: The increase in food prices represents a major crisis for the world's poor. This paper aims to review the evidence on the potential impact of higher food prices on poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and examines the extent to which policy responses will benefit the poor. The paper shows that rising food prices are likely to lead to higher poverty in sub-Saharan Africa as the negative impact on net poor consumers outweighs the benefits to poor producers. A recent survey shows that the most common policy response in sub-Saharan African countries is reducing taxes on food while outside the region price controls or targeted consumer subsidies are the most popular measure. Sub-Saharan African countries also have a higher prevalence of food-based safety net programs which are being scaled up to respond to rising prices. The review suggests that the benefits from reducing import tariffs on staples may accrue largely to the non-poor. Social protection programs show more promise, but geographic targeting is likely to be crucial in ensuring that benefits reach the neediest. The paper also argues that anti-poverty interventions ought to retain their focus on rural areas where poverty remains highest even after taking into account the adverse impact on the urban poor due to the rise in food prices.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Rural Poverty Reduction,Safety Nets and Transfers,Population Policies
    Date: 2008–10–01
  14. By: Alexander Apostolides (London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: The islands of Cyprus and Malta have been considered as similar economically to other South-Eastern European states, despite the lack of historical evidence to prove it. The paper uses recently complied primary sector output estimates for the interwar period (1921 – 1938) to evaluate that the economic structure of the islands was different from each other, as well as from other South-Eastern European states. The agricultural sector of the islands failed to keep up with the other states due to growth constraints. Due to the lack of a healthy system, rural credit was particularly problematic as it prevented a shift to products for which the islands held a comparative advantage.
    Keywords: Cyprus; Malta; Depression; Rural credit; Historical national accounts; Southeastern Europe.
    JEL: N14 N34 N54 E01 E23
    Date: 2008–07
  15. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Tor Vergata); Melania Michetti (Fondazione ENI Enrico Mattei and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano)
    Abstract: Economic interactions are often accused of being neutral, or even of generating adverse effects, not only on the social fabric but also on a factor (social capital) which is regarded as the foundation of both socio-economic activity and prosperity. In this paper we document how a particular form of economic interaction (affiliation of marginalised producers to a first level association and to the fair trade import channel) has indeed positive effects on a specific type of social capital. Our findings on a sample of Kenyan farmers show that years of affiliation to Fair Trade significantly affect the participation in elections and the trust placed in trade unions, political parties and the government, net of the impact of other controls and after accounting for the selection bias effect. This implies that consumers buying fair trade products contribute to reinforce both social cohesion and the institutions in countries in which these variables are fundamental in creating room for manoeuvre for pro-poor (equity plus growth) policies.
    Keywords: Fair trade, social capital, impact study
    JEL: O19 O22 D64
    Date: 2008
  16. By: Robert Deacon (University of California, Santa Barbara); Dominic Parker
    Abstract: We adapt the concept of a conservation easement to a marine environment and explore its use to achieve conservation goals. Although marine environments generally are not owned, those who use them for commercial fishing often are regulated. These regulations grant harvesters rights to use marine environments in specified ways, and the possibility of encumbering these rights to achieve conservation goals creates a potential role for marine easements. We examine this potential under alternative fishery management regimes and find, generally, that marine easements tend to be most effective when harvest rights are delineated most fully. Our analysis suggests ways the marine easements can have flexibility and transactions cost advantages over other approaches to achieving marine conservation goals. We also propose ways in which the design of laws allowing marine easements should follow, or depart from the design of laws authorizing conservation easements on land.
    Keywords: by catch, marine habitat protection, conservation easement,
    Date: 2008–04–01
  17. By: Semenova, Natalia (Åbo Akademi University); Hassel, Lars (Åbo Akademi University and Umeå School of Business)
    Abstract: This study extends previous research on the relation between different measures of environmental and financial performance by introducing moderating effects of inherent environmental industry risk. We provide empirical evidence from the MSCI World Index U.S. companies by using the GES Investment Services® risk rating for the period 2003-2006. The inherent environmental industry risk has a significant moderating effect on the form of the relation between environmental preparedness/performance and operating performance of the companies. In high risk or polluting industries, environmental management is costly and reduces the operating performance of companies. In low risk sectors, such as banking and insurance, leading companies on environmental management are also more profitable. The paper makes a distinction between the reputational benefits of environmental preparedness and the operational gains of environmental performance when studying the effects on market value. A significant direct effect of environmental preparedness on the market value of the companies is present, while the relation between environmental performance and market value is stronger in low risk industries than in high risk industries. In low risk industries, the market value of the companies is also on average higher and more attuned to benefits to environmental performance than in high risk industries.
    Keywords: Environmental risk and opportunity; financial performance; return on assets; Tobin’s Q; panel data analysis
    Date: 2008–09–16
  18. By: Blackman, Allen (Resources for the Future); Ávalos-Sartorio, Beatriz; Chow, Jeffrey
    Abstract: Little is known about land cover change in mixed agroforestry systems, which often supply valuable ecological services. We use a spatial regression model to analyze clearing in El Salvador’s shade coffee–growing regions during the 1990s. Our findings buttress previous research suggesting the relationship between proximity to cities and clearing in mixed agroforestry systems is the opposite of that in natural forests. But this result, and several others, depends critically on the characteristics of the growing area, particularly the dominant cleared land use. These findings imply that policies aimed at retaining mixed agroforestry need to be carefully targeted and tailored.
    Keywords: agroforestry, shade coffee, land cover, El Salvador, spatial econometrics
    JEL: O13 Q15 Q23
    Date: 2008–09–01
  19. By: Parra, Juan Carlos; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: Many countries have been affected by food and oil price shocks. Rising energy costs have manifested themselves through higher prices of gas at the pump and through price increases for many other goods such as kerosene and transport. But in some countries there has also been some degree of protection for consumers for example when authorities have chosen to try to keep electricity tariffs affordable through implicit subsidies (which are unfortunately often poorly targeted). For food prices, the effect on consumers has often been more rapid than for oil-related products, as the increase in import prices have been typically fully passed on to consumers and has often been accompanied by increases in the prices of domestically produced foods. Recent attention has therefore rightly been focused on food prices, but the issue of oil prices is important as well. While food prices tend to have a larger direct impact on consumers due to the larger share of food in total household consumption, oil prices may have larger multiplier effects than food prices because oil-related products are used as intermediary products in many productive sectors. It therefore remains an open question as to whether the medium-term impact of food or oil prices is likely to be larger in any given country. It also remains open to question as to whether urban as opposed to rural households are most likely to be affected. While urban households are likely to rely on consumption of imported goods more than rural households, the weight of food and possibly oil-related products may well be larger in the consumption patterns of rural than urban households. Answering these questions may be useful to guide discussions on compensatory measures that governments can take to respond to the twin crisis of higher food and oil prices. In this context the objective of this paper is to provide a comparative analysis of the multiplier impact of both types of price shocks using a recent Social Accounting Matrix for Ghana. The paper finds that both the direct impacts of food prices and the indirect impacts of oil prices are potentially large, so that both should be dealt with by authorities when considering compensatory measures to protect households from higher consumer prices.
    Keywords: Markets and Market Access,Food&Beverage Industry,Energy Production and Transportation,Emerging Markets,Access to Markets
    Date: 2008–10–01

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