nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2017‒11‒05
25 papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line? By Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke; Marina Riem
  2. The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
  3. Did the Egyptian protests lead to change? Evidence from Egypt's first free Presidential elections By Nelly El-Mallakh
  4. Consultative Democracy & Trust By Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Jimenez, Laura
  5. Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same-Sex Marriage By Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
  6. The Perils of Voter Mobilization By Benjamin Marx; Vincent Pons; Tavneet Suri
  7. Distributive Politics inside the City? The Political Economy of Spain's Plan E By Felipe Carozzi; Luca Repetto
  8. Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany By Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
  9. The Limits of Political Compromise: Debt Ceilings and Political Turnover By Alexandre B. Cunha; Emanuel Ornelas
  10. Partisan Determinants of Federal Highway Grants By Frank Goetzke; William Hankins; Gary A. Hoover
  11. Boon or Bane? Trade Sanctions and the Stability of InternationalEnvironmental Agreements By Achim Hagen; Jan Schneider
  12. Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? - Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method By Roesel, Felix
  13. The Real Estate Transfer Tax and Government Ideology: Evidence from the German States By Manuela Krause; Niklas Potrafke
  14. Political Agency and Public Health Care: Evidence from India By Joan Costa-i-Font; Divya Parmar
  15. Voting For a Cartel as a Sign of Cooperativeness By Gillet, Joris
  16. The Survival and Demise of the State: A Dynamic Theory of Secession By Joan Esteban; Sabine Flamand; Massimo Morelli; Dominic Rohner
  17. Public Good Agreements under the Weakest-link Technology By Caparros, Alejandro; Finus, Michael
  18. Trump’s victory like Harrison, not Hayes and Bush By Fabrice Barthélémy; Mathieu Martin; Ashley Piggins
  19. How voters use grade scales in evaluative voting By Antoinette Baujard; Frédéric Gavrel; Herrade Igersheim; Jean-François Laslier; Isabelle Lebon
  20. Can Rank-Order Competition Resolve the Free-Rider Problem in the Voluntary Provision of Impure Public Goods? Experimental Evidence By Andrej Angelovski; Tibor Neugebauer; Maroš Servatka
  21. Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis By Sascha Becker; Thiemo Fetzer; Dennis Novy
  22. Public Opinion on Education Policy in Germany By Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
  23. German elections and what to expect for the European agenda By Parthie, Sandra; Eichert, Wolfgang
  24. Online Social Networks: Approval by Design By Matthew Ellman
  25. Democracy by mistake By Daniel Treisman

  1. By: Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke; Marina Riem
    Abstract: We examine whether parties punish politicians who vote against the party line in roll-call votes. Using data of German members of parliament over the legislative period 2009-2013, we take into account that the effect of punishment differs along the list of candidates because a candidate is punished more when he loses positions at the threshold of promising list positions. The dataset includes the voting behavior of 257 MPs in 218 roll-call votes. Our results do not show that parties account for the voting behavior by punishing politicians who have voted against the party line. Political parties may attract different groups of voters by tolerating politicians who vote according to their own credo. Qualities other than the voting behavior seem to matter to political parties when nominating candidates.
    Keywords: voting against the party line, adherence to the party line, roll-call votes, proportional representation, party lists, selectorate
    JEL: D72 D78 P16
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
    Abstract: We provide evidence about voters’ response to crime control policies. We exploit a natural experiment arising from the Italian 2006 collective pardon releasing about one third of the prison population. The pardon created idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across released individuals and municipalities. We show that municipalities where resident pardoned individuals have a higher incentive to recidivate experienced higher recidivism. Moreover, in these municipalities: i) newspapers were more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals; ii) voters held worse beliefs on the incumbent governments ability to control crime and iii) with respect to the previous elections, the incumbent national government experienced a worse electoral performance in the April 2008 national elections relative to the opposition coalition. Overall, our findings indicate that voters keep incumbent politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the observed effects of their policies.
    Keywords: accountability, voting, natural experiment, crime, recidivism
    JEL: D72 K42
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Nelly El-Mallakh (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Did the Egyptian protests lead to political change? I examine the effects of the first and second waves of Egyptian protests that started in 2011, on voting outcomes during Egypt's first free Presidential elections that took place between May and June 2012. I geocoded the “martyrs” - demonstrators who died during the protests - using unique information from the Statistical Database of the Egyptian Revolution and exploited the variation in districts' exposure to the Egyptian protests. Using official elections' results collected from the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) and controlling for districts' characteristics using Census data, I find suggestive evidence that higher exposure to protests' intensity leads to a higher share of votes for former regime candidates, both during the first and second rounds of Egypt's first presidential elections after the uprisings. From the period of euphoria following the toppling of Mubarak to the sobering realities of the political transition process, I find that protests led to a conservative backlash, alongside negative economic expectations, general dissatisfaction with government performance, decreasing levels of trust towards public institutions, and increasing recognition of limitations on civil and political liberties
    Keywords: Egyptian protests; Presidential elections; voting outcomes; martyrs
    JEL: D72 D74
    Date: 2017–10
  4. By: Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Jimenez, Laura
    Abstract: We report experimental results from three Colombian villages concerning the impact of a voting mechanism on interpersonal trust and trustworthiness. The vote is purely consultative in that participants are asked to declare in a secret ballot the most “appropriate” plan of action for individuals involved in a “Trust Game”. The plan of action that is most voted is then publicly announced. The mechanism is unbinding, as only the aggregate result of the voting is disclosed and it has no bearing on individual decisions. In spite of the strategic irrelevance of the announcement, we observe an increase in both trust and trustworthiness after the announcement is carried out, in comparison to the baseline condition where no voting takes place.
    Keywords: Experiments, Trust, Voting
    JEL: C9 D7 H4
    Date: 2017–10–21
  5. By: Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: We examine whether conservative politicians are less likely to support same-sex marriage when they run for office in safe districts using new data based on a roll-call vote in the national German parliament. The results show that the margin of the majority for the incumbent in the previous election was a strong predictor for supporting same-sex marriage. When the majority increased by one percentage point, the likelihood of voting in favour of same-sex marriage decreased by around 1.3 percentage points. We conjecture that politicians are election-motivated – even when submitting roll-call votes on a matter of conscience.
    Keywords: same-sex marriage, gay rights, safe districts, vote margins, supermajorities, roll-call votes
    JEL: D72 D78 P16
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Benjamin Marx; Vincent Pons; Tavneet Suri
    Abstract: Voter mobilization campaigns face trade-offs in young democracies. In a large-scale experiment implemented in 2013 with the Kenyan Electoral Commission (IEBC), text messages intended to mobilize voters boosted participation but also decreased trust in electoral institutions after the election, a decrease that was stronger in areas that experienced election-related violence, and for individuals on the losing side of the election. The mobilization backfired because the IEBC promised an electronic voting system that failed, resulting in manual voting and tallying delays. Using a simple model, we show signaling high institutional capacity via a mobilization campaign can negatively affect beliefs about the fairness of the election.
    JEL: O55 P16
    Date: 2017–10
  7. By: Felipe Carozzi; Luca Repetto
    Abstract: We study distributive politics inside cities by analysing how local governments allocate investment projects to voters across neighbourhoods. In particular, we ask whether politicians use investment to target their own supporters. To this aim, we use detailed geo-located investment data from Plan E, a large fiscal stimulus program carried out in Spain in 2009-2011. Our empirical strategy is based on a close-elections regression-discontinuity design. In contrast to previous studies – which use aggregate data at the district or municipal level – we exploit spatial variation in both investment and voter support within municipalities and find no evidence of supporter targeting. Complementary results indicate that voters may be responding to investment by increasing turnout. Overall, our findings suggest that distributive politics only play a minor role inside the city.
    Keywords: political economy, distributive politics, partisan alignment, local governments
    JEL: H70 R53 D72
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
    Abstract: Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To examine this question, we exploit the fact that individuals in some areas of East Germany – due to their geographic location – could not receive West German television until 1989. We conjecture that individuals who received West German television were exposed more frequently to foreigners and thus have developed less xenophobia than people who were not exposed to those programs. Our results show that regions that could receive West German television were less likely to vote for right-wing parties during the national elections from 1998 to 2013. Only recently, the same regions were also more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Moreover, while counties that hosted more foreigners in 1989 were also more likely to vote for right-wing parties in most elections, we find counties that recently hosted more foreign visitors showed less xenophobia, which is in line with intergroup contact theory.
    Keywords: mass media, television, xenophobia, attitudes towards foreigners, East Germany, natural experiment
    JEL: D72 L82 P30
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Alexandre B. Cunha; Emanuel Ornelas
    Abstract: We study the desirability of limits on the public debt and of political turnover in an economy where incumbents have an incentive to set public expenditures above the socially optimal level due to rent-seeking motives. Parties alternate in office and cannot commit to future policies, but they can forge a political compromise where each party curbs excessive spending when in office if it expects future governments to do the same. In contrast to the received literature, we find that strict limits on government borrowing can exacerbate political economy distortions by making a political compromise unsustainable. This tends to happen when political turnover is limited. Conversely, a tight limit on the public debt fosters a compromise that yields the efficient outcome if political turnover is vigorous. Our analysis thus suggests that to sustain good economic policies, a society needs to restrict either the extent of political turnover or the ability of governments to issue debt, but not both.
    Keywords: debt limits, political turnover, efficient policies, fiscal rules
    JEL: E61 E62 H30 H63
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Frank Goetzke; William Hankins; Gary A. Hoover
    Abstract: Using data on federal highway grants from the Department of Transportation’s Federal High- way Administration, this paper investigates several questions regarding the political economy of highway funding. We investigate the period 1994 - 2008 and examine whether political align- ment and political ideology play a role in determining how much highway funding per capita a state receives. We find evidence that Republican-dominated House of Representatives del-egations receive more highway funding per capita compared to Democrats, especially in rural states. We also find that senators in the party of the president are able to secure more highway funding per capita. Overall, the distribution of highway spending over this time period appears to have been determined by political rather than deterministic considerations and in a way that is consistent with how the Interstate Highway System has distributed Republican voters to rural areas.
    Keywords: federal highway administration grants, political alignment, political ideology
    JEL: D72 H77
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Achim Hagen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin); Jan Schneider (Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg)
    Abstract: In spite of scientific agreement on the negative effects of anthropogenic climate change, efforts to find cooperative solutions on the international level have been unsatisfactory so far. Trade sanctions in the form of import tariffs are one principal measure discussed as a means to foster cooperation. Former studies have concluded that import tariffs are an effective mechanism to establish international cooperation. However, most of these studies rely on the assumption that outsiders are not able to retaliate, i.e. to implement import tariffs themselves. In this paper we use combined analytical and numerical analysis to investigate implications of retaliation. We find a threshold effect: below a certain coalition size the effect of retaliation predominates and decreases incentives to be a coalition member. In coalitions above the threshold size the effect of trade sanctions that stabilizes coalitions dominates and enables the formation of larger stable coalitions. Our analysis suggests that only after a sufficiently large climate coalition has already been formed, the threat of trade sanctions might be an effective stick to establish the grand coalition.
    Keywords: international environmental agreements; computable general equilibrium
    JEL: D58 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2017–09
  12. By: Roesel, Felix
    Abstract: States merge local governments to achieve economies of scale. Little is known to which extent mergers of county-sized local governments reduce expenditures, and influence political outcomes. I use the synthetic control method to identify the effect of mergers of large local governments in Germany (districts) on public expenditures. In 2008, the German state of Saxony reduced the number of districts from 22 to 10. Average district population increased substantially from 113,000 to 290,000 inhabitants. I construct a synthetic counterfactual from states that did not merge districts for years. The results do neither show reductions in total expenditures, nor in expenditures for administration, education, and social care. There seems to be no scale effects in jurisdictions of more than 100,000 inhabitants. By contrast, I find evidence that mergers decreased the number of candidates and voter turnout in district elections while vote shares for populist right-wing parties increased.
    Keywords: Municipal mergers,Local government,Expenditures,Synthetic control method,Local elections,Voter turnout
    JEL: D72 H11 H72 R51
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Manuela Krause; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: In 2006, the reform of the German fiscal constitution realigned legislative powers between the federal and the state governments. Since 2007, the German state governments have been allowed to design real estate transfer tax rates. We investigate whether government ideology predicts the levels and increases in the real estate transfer tax rates; and show that leftwing and center governments were more active in increasing the real estate transfer tax rates than rightwing governments. The result is important because many voters were disenchanted with the policies and platforms of the established German parties in the course of the euro and refugee crisis. Disenchantment notwithstanding, the established political parties are still prepared to offer polarized policies.
    Keywords: taxation, real estate transfer tax, reform, partisan politics, government ideology, German states
    JEL: D72 H20 H71 P16 R38
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Joan Costa-i-Font; Divya Parmar
    Abstract: A growing literature studies the effect of enhancing the agency relationship between political incumbents and constituents on the use of health care, and specifically maternal and preventive care services. We examine the development of institutions of self-governance in India, and specifically the 2005 reform—the National Rural Health Mission that introduced village health and sanitation committees—to study the effects of the strengthening of the political agency on collective health care decision-making in rural areas. We examine maternal and preventative child health care use, before and after the introduction of village health and sanitation committees. Our results suggest that the introduction of village health and sanitation committees increases access to several maternal health care and some but not all immunisation services. The effect size is larger in larger villages and those closer to district headquarters. Part of the effect is driven by an increase in the utilization of the public healthcare network.
    Keywords: decentralization, direct democracy, India, immunization, maternal healthcare, public health care, preventative health care
    JEL: H70 I18
    Date: 2017
  15. By: Gillet, Joris
    Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that a (partial) reason why cartels – costly non-binding price agreements – lead to higher prices in Bertrand Pricing Game-experiments could be because participants who form these kinds of agreements are more cooperative and pick higher numbers in general. To test this hypothesis we run an experiment where participants play two consecutive Bertrand oligopoly games: first a standard version without the opportunity to make price agreements; followed by a version where participants can vote, by majority, on whether to have a costly nonbinding agreement to pick the highest number. We find no statistically significant difference between the numbers picked in the first game by participants who vote for and against an agreement in the second game. We do confirm that having a price agreement leads to higher numbers being picked on average. Additionally we find that participants who vote for or against the price-agreement behave differently in response to the existence of the price agreement. In particular, participants who vote for a price agreement react more positively to the price agreement. The difference in numbers picked in the second game between situations with and without a price agreement is larger for participants who voted in favour of the agreement. Voters who voted for the price agreement are more cooperative than voters who voted against but only in situations where there is a price agreement.
    Keywords: Bertrand Pricing Game, oligopoly, experimental economics
    JEL: C91 D02 D43 L13
    Date: 2017–10–17
  16. By: Joan Esteban; Sabine Flamand; Massimo Morelli; Dominic Rohner
    Abstract: This paper describes the repeated interaction between groups in a country as a repeated Stackelberg bargaining game, where conflict and secessions can happen on the equilibrium path due to commitment problems. If a group out of power is sufficiently small and their contribution to total surplus is not too large, then the group in power can always maintain peace with an agreeable surplus sharing offer every period. When there is a mismatch between relative size and relative surplus contribution of the minority group, conflict can occur. While in the static model secession can occur only as peaceful outcome, in the infinite horizon game with high discount factor conflict followed by secession can occur. We discuss our full characterization of equilibrium outcomes in light of the available empirical evidence.
    Date: 2017
  17. By: Caparros, Alejandro; Finus, Michael
    Abstract: We analyze the formation of public good agreements under the weakest-link technol-ogy. Cooperation on migration policies, money laundering measures and biodiversityconservation e§orts are prime examples of this technology. Whereas for symmetricplayers, policy coordination is not necessary, for asymmetric players cooperation mat-ters but fails, in the absence of transfers. In contrast, with an optimal transfer scheme,asymmetry may not be an obstacle but an asset for cooperation. Counterintuitively, avery skewed distribution of interests may allow even the grand coalition being stable.We characterize various types and degrees of asymmetry and relate them to the stabil-ity of agreements and associate gains from cooperation. We compare our results withthose obtained under the well-known summation technology and demonstrate that theycan be derived under much more general conditions.
    Date: 2016
  18. By: Fabrice Barthélémy; Mathieu Martin; Ashley Piggins (CEMOTEV, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France)
    Abstract: Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. Presidential election with fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton. This is the fourth time this has happened, the others being 1876, 1888 and 2000. In our earlier paper “The architecture of the Electoral College, the House size effect, and the referendum paradox” (Electoral Studies 34 (2014) 111-118), we analyzed these earlier elections (and others) and showed how the electoral winner can often depend on the size of the House of Representatives. A sufficiently larger House would have given electoral victories to the winner of the popular vote in both 1876 and 2000. An exception is the election of 1888. In this note we show that Trump’s victory in 2016 is like Harrison’s in 1888, and unlike 1876 and 2000. This note updates the analysis of our earlier paper to include the 2016 election.
    Date: 2017
  19. By: Antoinette Baujard (Univ Lyon, UJM Saint-Etenne, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-42023 Saint- Etienne, France); Frédéric Gavrel (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Normandie and Condorcet Center); Herrade Igersheim (CNRS and Beta (UMR 7522), University of Strasbourg); Jean-François Laslier (CNRS and Paris School of Economics (UMR 8545)); Isabelle Lebon (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Normandie, and Condorcet Center)
    Abstract: During the first round of the 2012 French presidential election, participants in an in situ experiment were invited to vote according to “evaluative voting”, which involves rating the candidates using a numerical scale. Various scales were used: (0,1), (-1,0,1), (0,1,2), and (0,1,...,20). The paper studies scale calibration effects, i.e., how individual voters adapt to the scale, leading to possibly different election outcomes. The data show that scales are not linearly equivalent, even if individual ordinal preferences are not inconsistent. Scale matters, notably because of the symbolic power of negative grades, which does not affect all candidates uniformly.
    Keywords: Evaluative Voting, Range voting, Approval voting, In Situ Experiment, Calibration
    JEL: D72 C93
    Date: 2017
  20. By: Andrej Angelovski (LUISS Guido Carli); Tibor Neugebauer (University of Luxembourg); Maroš Servatka (Macquarie Graduate School of Management;University of Economics in Bratislava)
    Abstract: Publicly provided goods often create differential payoffs due to timely or spatial distances of group members. We design and test a provision mechanism which utilizes rank competition to mitigate free-riding. In our Rank-Order Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (Rank-Order-VCM) group members compete via observable contributions for a larger share of the public good; high contributors receive preferential access (and thus a larger share), while low contributors receive a restricted access (lower share). In a laboratory experiment Rank-Order-VCM elicits median contributions equal to the full endowment throughout the finitely played games with constant groups, including the last period. In the control treatment, with randomly assigned ranks and therefore also payoffs from the public good, the contributions are significantly lower and decline over time. We thus provide evidence of rank competition, in situations where discriminatory access to public goods is possible, being efficiency enhancing.
    Keywords: Competition, contest, cooperation, public goods, experiment, voluntary contribution mechanism.
    JEL: C91 H41
    Date: 2017–08
  21. By: Sascha Becker; Thiemo Fetzer; Dennis Novy
    Abstract: On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that exposure to the EU in terms of immigration and trade provides relatively little explanatory power for the referendum vote. Instead, we find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. At the much finer level of wards within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave. Our results indicate that a higher turnout of younger voters, who were more likely to vote Remain, would not have overturned the referendum result.
    Keywords: political economy, voting, referendum, migration, austerity, globalisation, UK, Scotland, EU
    JEL: D72 N44 R23 Z13
    Date: 2017
  22. By: Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
    Abstract: To better understand the political economy constraints of education policy, we have conducted the annual ifo Education Survey in Germany since 2014. This paper summarizes selected key findings on the German publics’ preferences for education policies ranging from early childhood education and schools to the apprenticeship system, universities, and lifelong learning. While the emerging picture is complex and multifaceted, some general patterns emerge. The majority of Germans is surprisingly open to education reform and favors clear performance orientation. Survey experiments indicate that information can have substantial effects on public policy preferences. Overall, education policies seem important for respondents’ voting behavior.
    Keywords: education policy, public opinion, political economy, survey experiments, Germany
    JEL: I28 D72 H52
    Date: 2017
  23. By: Parthie, Sandra; Eichert, Wolfgang
    Abstract: While the populist equivalents to the likes of Marine Le Pen's Front National or Geert Wilder's Dutch party are much less center-stage in the German elections, the outcome and thus the impact on the EU is still uncertain. However, all the probable coalitions will not overhaul the current German stance on European politics. But proposals to change the governance of the EU Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) are on the agenda of all parties, of course with very different emphasis.
    Date: 2017
  24. By: Matthew Ellman (Institute of Economic Analysis, IAE-CSIC, and Barcelona GSE)
    Abstract: Online social networks (OSN) influence the transmission of information in society. This paper analyzes how a profit-motivated OSN designs the instant feedback options, such as “likes†or up-votes and down-votes or disapprovals, that it aggregates into user ratings, and how these design choices affect social and economic outcomes. The OSN seeks to maximize advertising revenues via maximal engagement. We compare OSN designs that allow users to only up-vote other users' content contributions or “posts†against OSN designs that allow both up and down votes. Users care about what others think of them. The feedback system mediates what users with imperfect private signals learn about each others' contributions and about each other. The OSN design affects both the expected social approval gains from engaging as a contributor and the value to users from engaging as viewers of others' content. Up and down votes improve viewers information but removing the down-vote option can raise user willingness to contribute content by reducing the threat of unambiguous disapproval. We investigate a full set of OSN designs in a range of social contexts.
    Keywords: Online social networks, feedback design, user-generated content, quality, rating systems, platform economics, media economics.
    JEL: L13 L82
    Date: 2017–10
  25. By: Daniel Treisman
    Abstract: How does democracy emerge from authoritarian rule? Influential theories contend that incumbents deliberately choose to share or surrender power. They do so to prevent revolution, motivate citizens to fight wars, incentivize governments to provide public goods, outbid elite rivals, or limit factional violence. Examining the history of all democratizations since 1800, I show that such deliberate choice arguments may help explain up to one third of cases. In about two thirds, democratization occurred not because incumbent elites chose it but because, in trying to prevent it, they made mistakes that weakened their hold on power. Common mistakes include: calling elections or starting military conflicts, only to lose them; ignoring popular unrest and being overthrown; initiating limited reforms that get out of hand; and selecting a covert democrat as leader. These mistakes reflect well-known cognitive biases such as overconfidence and the illusion of control.
    JEL: K00 N20 P16
    Date: 2017–10

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