nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2007‒05‒12
twenty-one papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. The geographical processes behind innovation: A Europe-United States comparative analysis By Riccardo Crescenzi; Andrés Rodríguez-Pose; Michael Storper
  2. What Distinguishes EMAS Participants? An Exploration of Company Characteristics By Roeland Bracke; Tom Verbeke
  3. The European Union preferential trade with developing countries. Total trade restrictiveness and the case of sugar By Conforti, Piero; Ford, Deep; Hallam, David; Rapsomanikis, George; Salvatici, Luca
  4. The rigour of EPO's patentability criteria: An insight into the "induced withdrawals". By George Lazaridis; Bruno Van Pottelsberghe
  5. EU Trade Policies: Benchmarking Protection in a General Equilibrium Framework By Antimiani, Alessandro; Salvatici, Luca
  6. EU Commercial Policy in a Multipolar Trading System By Evenett, Simon J
  7. Lowering blood alcohol content levels to save lives: The european experience By Daniel Albalate
  8. Employment Outcomes and the Interaction Between Product and Labor Market Deregulation: Are They Substitutes or Complements? By Giuseppe Fiori; Giuseppe Nicoletti; Stefano Scarpetta; Fabio Schiantarelli
  9. Regional cooperation in Central and Southeastern Europe: the Romanian experience in fighting corruption By Botezatu, Elena
  10. The attractiveness of central eastern European countries for venture capital and private equity investors By Groh, Alexander P.; Liechtenstein, Heinrich; Lieser, Karsten
  11. Ability of the New EU Member States to Fulfill the Exchange Rate Stability Convergence Criterion By Stavarek, Daniel
  12. The Role of Association Agreements within European Union Enlargement to Central and Eastern European Countries By Christophe Rault; Robert Sova; Ana Maria Sova
  13. Returns to education in the economic transition : a systematic assessment using comparable data By Tiongson, Erwin R.; Paternostro , Stefano; Flabbi, Luca
  14. Information Sharing and Credit: Firm-Level Evidence from Transition Countries By Martin Brown; Tullio Jappelli; Marco Pagano
  15. Money Demand in Estonia By Boriss Siliverstovs
  16. The impact of the recent migration from Eastern Europe on the UK economy By David Blanchflower; Jumana Saleheen; Chris Shadforth
  17. The Income Gap Between Natives and Second Generation Immigrants in Sweden: Is Skill the Explanation? By Martin Nordin; Dan-Olof Rooth
  18. Household loan loss risk in Finland – estimations and simulations with micro data By Herrala, Risto; Kauko, Karlo
  19. Intrahousehold Specialization in Housework in the United States and Denmark By Jens Bonke; Mette Deding; Mette Lausten; Leslie S. Stratton
  20. Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm : Evidence from Belgium By Mirabelle Muûls; Mauro Pisu
  21. Smart capital in German start-ups - an empirical analysis By Dorothea Schäfer; Dirk Schilder

  1. By: Riccardo Crescenzi (Università degli studi Roma Tre); Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (London School of Economics); Michael Storper (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: The United States and European Union differ significantly in terms of their innovative capacity: the former have been able to gain and maintain world leadership in innovation and technology while the latter continues to lag. Notwithstanding the magnitude of this innovation gap and the political emphasis placed upon it on both sides of the Atlantic, very little systematic comparative analysis has been carried out on its causes. The empirical literature has emphasised the structural differences between the two continents in the quantity and quality of the major \'inputs\' to innovation: R&D investments and human capital. The very different spatial organisation of innovative activities in the EU and the US – as suggested by a variety of contributions in the field of economic geography – could also influence innovative output. This paper analyses and compares a wide set of territorial processes that influence innovation in Europe and the United States. The higher mobility of capital, population, and knowledge in the US not only promotes the agglomeration of research activity in specific areas of the country but also enables a variety of territorial mechanisms to fully exploit local innovative activities and (informational) synergies. In the European Union, in contrast, imperfect market integration, and institutional and cultural barriers across the continent prevent innovative agents from maximising the benefits from external economies and localised interactions, but compensatory forms of geographical process may be emerging in concert with further European integration.
    Date: 2007–04–27
  2. By: Roeland Bracke (Ghent University); Tom Verbeke (European University College)
    Abstract: Empirical research on the characteristics of environmentally responsive companies has focussed almost exclusively on US and Japanese firms. For Europe, which is commonly considered as the greenest of the three major developed economic markets, similar research is lacking. This paper seeks to fill this gap by empirically investigating the business and financial characteristics, stakeholder pressure and public policies distinguishing companies that have implemented the European Eco-Management and Audit System (EMAS) and those that have not using a unique firm-level dataset of European publicly quoted companies. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First of all, the decision to implement EMAS has not been widely analysed. Secondly, we focus on European firms which allows us to assess if and to what extent European firms behave like their US or Japanese counterparts. We find that the EMAS participation decision is positively influenced by the solvency ratio, the share of non-current liabilities and the average labour cost. Also, two measures of company size are positively associated with EMAS participation: both the absolute company size as well as the relative size of a company compared to its sector average. The profit margin on the other hand exerts a negative influence according to our results. We further show that public policy can heavily influence the EMAS participation decision: companies whose headquarters is located in a member state that actively encourages EMAS have a higher probability of participation.
    Keywords: EMAS, European Companies, Public Policy
    JEL: L2
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: Conforti, Piero; Ford, Deep; Hallam, David; Rapsomanikis, George; Salvatici, Luca
    Abstract: Preferential trade agreements are a central issue in the multilateral trade liberalization process. The extent to which such agreements are effective in improving market access for developing and developed countries is important because trade liberalization results in eroding their value to the beneficiary countries, expressed as export revenue. This paper focuses on the estimation of a theoretically founded bilateral aggregated measure of trade restrictiveness, the Mercantilistic Trade Restrictiveness Index, by means of a general equilibrium model, in order to measure the effectiveness of preferences granted by the European Union. We also develop an empirical model structure, comprising a partial equilibrium model for the sugar market and a gravity model, in order to replicate least developed countries bilateral trade with Europe, and to estimate the erosion in the value of preferences granted to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and to least developed countries brought about by changes in the Common Market Organization for sugar and the Everything but Arms initiative. The results highlight the importance of sugar in determining the degree of trade restrictiveness faced by developing countries. Sugar sector policy reform in Europe is expected to result in a significant reduction in the African Caribbean and Pacific countries’ export revenue, whilst the initial impact on least developed countries may be limited, but increasing in the medium run.
    Keywords: preferential trade, sugar, policy reform
    JEL: Q18 C23 C53 C68
    Date: 2007–04–26
  4. By: George Lazaridis (European Patent Office - EPO, München.); Bruno Van Pottelsberghe (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Business School, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels)
    Abstract: The EPO traditionally grants at least 60% of all patent applications, the rest being either withdrawn (30-35 %) or refused (5%). This paper provides quantitative evidence suggesting that up to 54% of all patent withdrawals could be considered as induced by the work of EPO examiners, and hence may be taken as a more appropriate indicator of the rigour of the EPO. “Induced withdrawals” and refusals occur for up to 23% of all applications at the EPO. This share varies according to 1) the route chosen for an EPO filing; 2) the technological field that is considered; and 3) the country of residence of the assignee. The number of claims only slightly affects the share of withdrawals. However, on average, two additional claims induce an additional communication from the EPO, which in turn prolongs the procedural duration by an additional year.
    Keywords: European Patent Office, grant, patent filing, induced withdrawals, claims, communications, examination procedure.
    JEL: K1 K3 L1 O3
    Date: 2007–04
  5. By: Antimiani, Alessandro; Salvatici, Luca
    Abstract: This paper deals with the EU’s trade policy with two objectives: on the one hand, we study the performance of EU's preferential agreements in granting their partners improved market access; on the other hand, we assess the extent to which domestic sectors are effectively protected. As far as the first objective is concerned, we construct bilateral indicators of protection based on the applied tariffs faced by each exporter. In order to do this, an index of trade policy restrictiveness is computed, using the Mercantilistic Trade Restrictiveness Index as the tariff aggregator. We also analyze the protection granted to each sector by the existing tariff structure. In this respect, we compute effective rates of protection that overcome the well-known theoretical shortcomings of the traditional definition (Output Effective Rate of Protection). The analysis is based on a comparative static applied general equilibrium model (Global Trade Analysis Project) and on the most recent version (release 6) of the related database. Results are obtained with reference to the situation existing in 2001, but the assessment of protection is carried out for the enlarged EU. Overall, it appears that notwithstanding the rhetoric about preferential access, several developing countries are the ones facing the highest hurdles in getting into the EU markets. Both bilateral protection and effective protection rates are broadly consistent with the evolution of the WTO negotiations: the strongest demands from developing countries in terms of market access in the EU have less to do with the overall applied MFN tariffs on industrial products than the reduction of distortions affecting trade in agriculture.
    Keywords: Protection, Commercial policy, GTAP model, International trade.
    JEL: F13 Q17 F17
    Date: 2007–04–25
  6. By: Evenett, Simon J
    Abstract: In recent years the bipolar multilateral trading system of the post-war years has given way to a multipolar alternative. Although many specifics have yet to be determined, some contours of this new trade policy landscape are coming into focus and in this short essay I examine their implications for the European Union's external commercial policy. Particular attention is given to both the state of business-government relations and the propensity to liberalise under the auspices of reciprocal trade agreements by Brazil, India, and China; the potential new poles of the world trading system. I consider the likely consequences of these developments, plus factors internal to both the European Union and the United States, for the possible content of future multilateral trade initiatives.
    Keywords: BRICs; European Union; regional trade agreements; WTO
    JEL: F13 F15
    Date: 2007–05
  7. By: Daniel Albalate (Grup de Recerca en Polítiques Públiques i Regulació Económiques (GPRE), Institut de Recerca d'Economia Aplicada (IREA), Departament de Política Econòmica i EEM, Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: Road safety has become an increasing concern in developed countries due to the significant amount of mortal victims and the economic losses derived. Only in 2005 these losses rose to 200.000 million euros, a significant amount - approximately the 2% of its GDP- that easily justifies any public intervention. One tool used by governments to face this challenge is the enactment of stricter policies and regulations. Since drunk driving is one of the most important concerns of public authorities on this field, several European countries decided to lower their illegal Blood Alcohol Content levels to 0.5 mg/ml during the last decade. This study evaluates for the first time the effectiveness of this transition using European panel-based data (CARE) for the period 1991-2003 using the Differences-in-Differences method in a fixed effects estimation that allows for any pattern of correlation (Cluster-Robust). My results show the existence of positive impacts on certain groups of road users and for the whole population when the policy is accompanied by some enforcement interventions. Moreover, a time lag of more than two years is found in that effectiveness. Finally, I also assert the importance of controlling for serial correlation in the evaluation of this kind of policies.
    Keywords: Road Safety; Policy Evaluation; Differences-in-Differences; Drunk Driving; Illegal Blood Alcohol Content Levels (BAC).
    JEL: I18 H73 K32 R41
    Date: 2006–12
  8. By: Giuseppe Fiori (Boston College); Giuseppe Nicoletti (OECD); Stefano Scarpetta (OECD and IZA); Fabio Schiantarelli (Boston College and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper provides a systematic empirical investigation of the effect of product market liberalization on employment when there are interactions between policies and institutions in product and labor markets. Using panel data for OECD countries over the period 1980-2002, we present evidence that product market deregulation is more effective at the margin when labor market regulation is high. Moreover, there is evidence in our sample that product market deregulation promotes labor market deregulation. We show that these results are mostly consistent with the basic predictions of a standard bargaining model, such as Blanchard and Giavazzi (2003), extended to allow for a richer specification of the fall back position of the union and for taxation.
    Keywords: employment, competition, deregulation, liberalization, unions
    JEL: J23 J50 L50
    Date: 2007–05
  9. By: Botezatu, Elena
    Abstract: Regional cooperation is of outmost importance, both for the southeastern European countries that want to set themselves on the European mainstream, and for the EU. In the last few years, the fight against corruption has been high on the agenda of all the governments in the CEE countries. The regional initiatives have provided the opportunity to exchange not only best, but also “worst practices” in this field, contributing to the development of anticorruption programs and to the improvement of the situation in these countries. The paper seeks to present the Romanian experience in regional initiatives, particularly in the Stability pact Anticorruption – Initiative.
    Keywords: regional cooperation; corruption; Southeast Europe; Romania
    JEL: F53
    Date: 2006–10
  10. By: Groh, Alexander P. (IESE Business School); Liechtenstein, Heinrich (IESE Business School); Lieser, Karsten (Strategic Capital Management)
    Abstract: We address the attractiveness of Central Eastern European countries for VC/PE investors by the construction of a composite index. For the index composition we refer to the results of numerous prior research papers that investigate relevant parameters determining entrepreneurial activity and/or the engagements of institutional investors. We aggregate the index via five different methods and receive country rankings that vary only slightly, signaling a robust index calculation. We clearly identify six tier groups of attractiveness for all of our sample countries. We compare our index with the actual fundraising activities in the particular countries and reveal a reasonable correlation of both figures. The results highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the particular economies and provide guidelines for political improvements and institutional investors' country allocations.
    Keywords: Venture capital; Private equity; Central Eastern Europe; Economic transition;
    JEL: G23 G24 M13 O16 P34 P52
    Date: 2007–02–19
  11. By: Stavarek, Daniel
    Abstract: This paper assesses exchange rate development and volatility in six new EU member states (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) during the period November 1996 - April 2006. The study is motivated by the unavoidable participation of the new member states’ currencies in the Exchange Rate Mechanism II and fulfillment of the exchange rate stability convergence criterion. The development of exchange rates is examined by the calculation of various rates of return and the exchange rate volatility is analyzed using moving average standard deviations of the annualized daily returns of the nominal bilateral exchange rates. The results suggest that the dilemma of “participation or non-participation in ERM II” have been solved properly so far by all countries analyzed. The three ERM II participating currencies (SIT, CYP, SKK) entered into the mechanism at the optimal time of stable exchange rate development and low volatility. On the other hand, the admissible fluctuation band ± 2.25 % seems to be still too narrow for the remaining three currencies (CZK, HUF, PLN), thus the currencies should remain out of ERM II for some time.
    Keywords: exchange rates; rate of return; volatility; ERM II; exchange rate stability criterion; new EU Member States
    JEL: F31
    Date: 2006–05
  12. By: Christophe Rault (LEO, University of Orleans and IZA); Robert Sova (CES, Sorbonne University and A.S.E); Ana Maria Sova (CES, Sorbonne University and A.S.E)
    Abstract: The main goal of regionalization is the creation of free trade areas and the guarantee for countries to accede to a widened market. Many studies dealing with the effects of regional free trade agreements on trade flows already exist in the economic literature and the explosion in the number of regional agreements among countries has recently stressed the key role of regionalization. However, the effects of agreements on trade were sometimes contradictory in those studies. These diverging results can be explained by the potential endogeneity bias of the agreement variable. Our research in this paper aims at reassessing the genuine role of associations. For this matter, we particularly study the association of Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) with European Union countries. Our econometric analysis based on qualitative choice models highlights in particular why European countries chose to conclude an association agreement with CEEC, and stresses the fact that European Union countries select endogenously the conclusion of association agreements. We are also particularly interested in modeling the effect of the association agreement on export performances between countries, and to quantify its impact. When considering annual data for 4 CEEC and 19 OECD countries (1990-2004), we find a 0.17 positive impact of the association agreement on bilateral exports.
    Keywords: regionalization, European integration, qualitative choice models, gravity model
    JEL: E61 F13 F15 C25
    Date: 2007–04
  13. By: Tiongson, Erwin R.; Paternostro , Stefano; Flabbi, Luca
    Abstract: This paper examines the assertion that returns to schooling increase as an economy transitions to a market environment. This claim has been difficult to assess as existing empirical evidence covers only a few countries over short time periods. A number of studies find that returns to education increased from the " pre-transition " period to the " early transition " period. It is not clear what has happened to the skills premium through the late 1990s, or the period thereafter. The authors use data that are comparable across countries and over time to estimate returns to schooling in eight transition economies (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia) from the early transition period up to 2002. In the case of Hungary, they capture the transition process more fully, beginning in the late 1980s. Compared to the existing literature, they implement a more systematic analysis and perform more comprehensive robustness checks on the estimated returns, although at best they offer only an incomplete solution to the problem of endogeneity. The authors find that the evidence of a rising trend in returns to schooling over the transition period is generally weak, except in Hungary and Russia where there have been sustained and substantial increases in returns to schooling. On average, the estimated returns in the sample are comparable to advanced economy averages. There are, however, significant differences in returns across countries and these differentials have remained roughly constant over the past 15 years. They speculate on the likely institutional and structural factors underpinning these results, including incomplete transition and significant heterogeneity and offsetting developments in returns to schoolin g within countries.
    Keywords: Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning,Education Reform and Management,Access & Equity in Basic Education
    Date: 2007–05–01
  14. By: Martin Brown (Swiss National Bank); Tullio Jappelli (Università di Napoli "Federico II", CSEF and CEPR); Marco Pagano (Università di Napoli "Federico II", CSEF and CEPR)
    Abstract: We investigate whether information sharing among banks has affected credit market performance in the transition countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, using a large sample of firm-level data. Our estimates show that information sharing is associated with improved availability and lower cost of credit to firms, and that this correlation is stronger for opaque firms than transparent firms. In cross-sectional estimates, we control for variation in country-level aggregate variables that may affect credit, by examining the differential impact of information sharing across firm types. In panel estimates, we also control for the presence of unobserved heterogeneity at the firm level and for changes in selected macroeconomic variables.
    Keywords: information sharing, credit access, transition countries
    JEL: D82 G21 G28 O16 P34
    Date: 2007–05–01
  15. By: Boriss Siliverstovs
    Abstract: This study develops a parsimonious stable coefficient money demand model for Estonia for the period from 1995 till 2006. Using the Johansen Full Information Maximum Likelihood framework the two cointegrating vectors are found among the system variables including the real money balances, the gross domestic product, the long- and short-term interest rates, and the rate of inflation. The first cointegrating vector is identified as the money demand function whereas the second as the interest rate parity. Our study contributes to better understanding of the factors shaping the demand for money in the new Member States of the European Union that committed themselves to adopting of the Euro currency in the near future.
    Keywords: M2 money demand, stability, new EU member states, Estonia
    JEL: C32 E41
    Date: 2007
  16. By: David Blanchflower; Jumana Saleheen; Chris Shadforth
    Abstract: The recent rise in migration to the UK from eight EU Accession countries (the Czech Republic; Estonia; Hungary; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Slovakia; and Slovenia - the A8 countries) has generated a good deal of controversy. How many A8 immigrants are there in the UK? Where did they come from and when? What impact has their influx had on the UK economy and what likely impacts will they have in the future? Most importantly for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), what macroeconomic effects have they had? We attempt to address these questions here. First, we examine the change in population in the UK over the last thirty-five years and note that growth is very low by international standards. The UK population has, however, grown at a faster pace since the turn of the millennium, driven most recently by migration from the A8 nations. It appears that the propensity to migrate to the UK from these countries is higher the lower is GDP per capita. Second, we examine the various sources of data that are available on the numbers of A8 immigrants that have arrived in the UK in recent years. There is broad agreement from the various data sources on the numbers involved - half a million workers is likely to be an upper bound for the stock of A8 migrants who are in the UK in late 2006. Many of the new 'migrants' may have stayed for only a short time and then returned home, to possibly return again at a later date. Third, we examine the characteristics of the recent flow of individuals from the A8 countries that have arrived in the UK since accession, and find that they are relatively young, male, have low unemployment rates, lower wages, and high self-employment rates and are especially likely to be in temporary jobs. Finally, we turn to the macroeconomic implications of A8 migration to the UK, and argue that this immigration has made the labour market more flexible and likely lowered the natural rate of unemployment and the NAIRU.
    Date: 2007
  17. By: Martin Nordin (Lund University); Dan-Olof Rooth (Kalmar University, CReAM and IZA)
    Abstract: This is the first study to use an achievement test score to analyze whether the income gap between second-generation immigrants and natives is caused by a skill gap rather than ethnic discrimination. Since, in principle, every male Swedish citizen takes the test when turning 18, we are able to bring more evidence to bear on the matter by estimating the income gap for a very large sample of individuals who are of the same age and have the same years of schooling at the test date. Once the result of the Swedish Military Enlistment Test is controlled for, the income gap almost disappears for second generation immigrants with both parents born in Southern Europe or outside Europe. However, when using a regular set of control variables the income gap becomes overestimated. This difference in results is most likely explained by the fact that schooling is a bad measure of productive skills for these groups of second-generation immigrants. It indicates that they compensate for their lower probability of being employed by investing in (in relation to their skill level) more schooling than otherwise similar natives.
    Keywords: productive skills, discrimination, incomes, wages
    JEL: J64 J71
    Date: 2007–04
  18. By: Herrala, Risto (Bank of Finland Monetary Policy and Research/Monitoring); Kauko, Karlo (Bank of Finland Research)
    Abstract: This discussion paper presents a microsimulation model of household distress. We use logit analysis to estimate the extent to which a household’s risk of being financially distressed depends on net income after tax and loan servicing costs. The impact of assumed macroeconomic shocks on this net income concept is calculated at the household level. The microsimulation model is used to simulate both the number of distressed households and their aggregate debt in various macroeconomic scenarios. The simulations indicate that household credit risks to banks are relatively well contained.
    Keywords: financial stability; indebtedness; micro simulations; households
    JEL: D14 E47 G21 R29
    Date: 2007–05–08
  19. By: Jens Bonke (Danish National Institute of Social Research); Mette Deding (Danish National Institute of Social Research); Mette Lausten (Danish National Institute of Social Research); Leslie S. Stratton (Virginia Commonwealth University and IZA)
    Abstract: Objective: Focusing on housework activities, we construct a gender neutral composite index measure of intrahousehold specialization. We hypothesize that the degree of specialization is influenced by economic notions of efficiency, as well as by time constraints and egalitarian values. Methods: Employing time use data on US and Danish couples, we model specialization using a multivariate two-limit Tobit. Results: We analyze the comparability of reported time use and our specialization index using different types of data. We find evidence that Danish households specialize less than American households and postulate that this cross-national difference is a result of the more egalitarian family culture within Scandinavia. A finding that children are associated with significantly increased specialization in the US but not in Denmark is attributed to the subsidized childcare services provided by the Danish welfare system. Conclusion: Intrahousehold specialization in housework varies with economic circumstances, time constraints, and social values.
    Keywords: time use, housework, specialization
    JEL: D13
    Date: 2007–05
  20. By: Mirabelle Muûls (National Bank of Belgium, Microeconomic Information Department); Mauro Pisu (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)
    Abstract: This paper explores a newly-available panel data set merging balance sheet and international trade transaction data for Belgium. Both imports and exports appear to be highly concentrated among few firms and seem to have become more so over time. Focusing on manufacturing, we find that facts previously reported in the literature for exports only actually apply to imports too. We note that the number of trading firms diminishes as the number of export destinations or import origins increases. The same is true if we consider the number of products traded. With regard to productivity differentials, firms that both import and export appear to be the most productive, followed, in descending order, by importers only, exporters only and non-traders. These results point to the presence of fixed costs not only of exporting, but also of importing and to a process of self-selection in both export and import markets. Also, the productivity advantage of exporters reported in the literature may be overstated because imports were not considered.
    Keywords: imports, exports, productivity, firms
    JEL: F10 F16 J21
    Date: 2007–05
  21. By: Dorothea Schäfer (German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)); Dirk Schilder
    Abstract: It is still an open question what kind of smart capital relational investors actually supply. We divide smart capital into several components and conduct a survey among 85 German suppliers of start-up finance. The results show that the degree of "smartness" is determined by the financial product used and also by the finan-ciers' institutional background, the duration of the investment and the stage of development of the firm being financed.
    Keywords: Smart capital, start-up financing, venture capital, banks
    JEL: G21 G24 D21 M13 O16
    Date: 2007–05–07

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