nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2011‒11‒28
twenty-one papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. Human Capital and Spatial Heterogeneity in the Iberian Countries’ Regional Growth and Convergence By Catarina Cardoso; Eric J. Pentecost
  2. Agglomeration, accessibility and industrial location: evidence from spanish municipalities By Ángel Alañón-Pardo; Josep-Maria Arauzo-Carod
  3. The Extended Hodrick-Prescott (HP) Filter for Spatial Regression Smoothing By Wolfgang Polasek
  4. Firm growth and the spatial impact of geolocated external factors: Empirical evidence for German manufacturing firms By Duschl, Matthias; Schimke, Antje; Brenner, Thomas; Luxen, Dennis
  5. Internal Geography and External Trade: regional disparities in Italy, 1861-2011 By Brian A'Hearn; Anthony J. Venables
  6. Internal Geography and External Trade: regional disparities in Italy, 1861-2011 By A'Hearn, Brian; Venables, Anthony J.
  7. Determinants of regional productivity growth in Europe: an empirical analysis By Gert-Jan Linders; Tatyana Bulavskaya; Henri De Groot; Ferdinand Paraguas
  8. Planning Innovation and Regional Development: the Spreading of Urban Strategic Planning in Southern Italy By Ignazio Vinci
  9. A scale-free transportation network explains the city-size distribution By Berliant, Marcus; Watanabe, Hiroki
  10. Neighborhood Effects and Individual Unemployment By Thomas K. Bauer; Michael Fertig; Matthias Vorell
  11. Regional innovation systems revisited: networks, institutions, policy and complexity By Elvira Uyarra
  12. Does Skilled Migration Foster Innovative Performance? Evidence from British Local Areas By Luisa Gagliardi
  13. The impact of West-German universities on regional innovation activities: A social network analysis By Meyborg, Mirja
  14. A spatial nonparametric analysis of local multipliers By Stefano Magrini; Margherita Gerolimetto
  16. Measuring social embeddedness : how to identify social networks in science-industry partnerships ? By Marie Ferru; Michel Grossetti; Marie-Pierre Bès
  17. The Bright Side of Social Capital: How 'Bridging' Makes Italian Provinces More Innovative By Riccardo Crescenzi; Luisa Gagliardi; Marco Percoco
  19. Municipality Size and Efficiency of Local Public Services: Does Size Matter? By P. Bönisch; Peter Haug; A. Illy; L. Schreier
  20. Regional unemployment and norm-induced effects on life satisfaction By Chadi, Adrian
  21. Causes and Consequences of Bailing out Expectations of Subcentral Governments: Theory and Evidence from the Italian Regions By Fabio Padovano, CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Center, University of Rennes 1 (France) & DIPES-Università Roma Tre (Italy)

  1. By: Catarina Cardoso (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK); Eric J. Pentecost (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK)
    Abstract: Human capital is believed to be an important conditioning factor in explaining the convergence and the speed of convergence of regional economies, although it is usually excluded from the estimated models due to a lack of consistent data. In contrast this paper, using a newly constructed series on human capital at the NUTS III level for Portugal, evaluates the role of human capital on the speed of convergence using a spatial econometric methodology, for a sample of Iberian NUTS III regions over the period 1991-2006. This is the first study to consider human capital effects at the NUTS III level and the results show convergence, both absolute and conditional, occurs mainly in the peripheral group of regions, while human capital plays a positive role only in the club of the richest regions, in contrast with an insignificant effect in the periphery. There is also evidence of important regional spillovers between the regions and evidence of the importance of EU regional policy in enhancing the convergence of the NUTS III regions.
    Keywords: Regional growth, beta-convergence, Human Capital, Spatial Effects
    JEL: C23 I21 O18 R11
    Date: 2011–11
  2. By: Ángel Alañón-Pardo (Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Departamento de Economía Aplicada I, Campus de Somosaguas, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón (Spain),); Josep-Maria Arauzo-Carod (QURE-CREIP (Departament d’Economia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili), Reus & Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB), Barcelona, Spain)
    Abstract: This paper deals with the location decisions of manufacturing firms in Spain. We analyse how agglomeration economies and transport accessibility influence the location decisions of firms at municipality level and in three industries. The main empirical contributions of this paper are the econometric techniques used (spatial econometric models) and some of the explanatory variables (local gross domestic product, road accessibility, and the characteristics of firms in neighbouring municipalities). The results show that agglomeration economies and accessibility are important in industrial location decision-making.
    Keywords: Agglomeration, Accessibility, Industrial location, Spatial econometrics, Spain
    JEL: R10 R12 R15 R30
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Wolfgang Polasek (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria; University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
    Abstract: The Hodrick-Prescott (HP) method is a popular smoothing method for economic time series to get a longterm component of stationary series like growth rates. The new extended HP smoothing model is applied to data-sets with an underlying metric and requires a Bayesian linear regression model with a strong prior based on differencing matrices for the smoothness parameter and a weak prior for the regression part. We define a Bayesian spatial smoothing model with neighbors for each observation and we define a smoothness prior similar to the HP filter in time series. This opens a new approach to model-based smoothers for time series and spatial models based on MCMC. We apply it to the NUTS-2 regions of the European Union for regional GDP and GDP per capita, where the fixed effects are removed by an extended HP smoothing model.
    Keywords: Hodrick-Prescott (HP) smoothers, smoothed square loss function, spatial smoothing, smoothness prior, Bayesian econometrics
    JEL: C11 C15 C52 E17 R12
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Duschl, Matthias; Schimke, Antje; Brenner, Thomas; Luxen, Dennis
    Abstract: In this paper the relationship between firm growth and external knowledge sources, such as related firms and universities, is studied. The spatial characteristics of these relationships are examined by geolocating firms into a more realistic relational space using travel time distances and using flexible distance decay function specifications. This approach properly accounts for growth relevant knowledge spillovers and allows for estimating their spatial range and functional form. Applying quantile regression techniques on a large sample of German manufacturing firms, we show that the impact of external factors substantially differ along firms' size, type of knowledge source and growth level. --
    Keywords: Firm growth,external factors,universities,agglomeration,space,spatial range,distance decay functions,knowledge spillovers,high growth firms,quantile regression
    JEL: C31 D92 L25 R11
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Brian A'Hearn; Anthony J. Venables
    Abstract: This paper explores the interactions between external trade and regional disparities in the Italian economy since unification. It argues that the advantage of the North was initially based on natural advantage (in particular the endowment of water, intensive in silk production). From 1880 onwards the share of exports in GDP stagnated and then declined; domestic market access therefore became a key determinant of industrial location, inducing fast growing new sectors (especially engineering) to locate in regions with a large domestic market, i.e. in the North. From 1945 onwards trade growth and European integration meant that foreign market access was the decisive factor; the North had the advantage of proximity to these markets.
    Keywords: Industrialisation, Market integration, New economic geography, Geographic concentration, Italian regions
    Date: 2011
  6. By: A'Hearn, Brian; Venables, Anthony J.
    Abstract: This paper explores the interactions between external trade and regional disparities in the Italian economy since unification. It argues that the advantage of the North was initially based on natural advantage (in particular the endowment of water, intensive in silk production). From 1880 onwards the share of exports in GDP stagnated and then declined; domestic market access therefore became a key determinant of industrial location, inducing fast growing new sectors (especially engineering) to locate in regions with a large domestic market, i.e. in the North. From 1945 onwards trade growth and European integration meant that foreign market access was the decisive factor; the North had the advantage of proximity to these markets.
    Keywords: geographic concentration; industrialisation; Italian regions; market integration; new economic geography
    JEL: F14 F15 N63 N64 N93 N94 R11 R12
    Date: 2011–11
  7. By: Gert-Jan Linders; Tatyana Bulavskaya; Henri De Groot; Ferdinand Paraguas
    Abstract: Discussion on the possibilities for and barriers to income convergence and catch-up growth is at the heart of the debate on European regional economic policy. This study presents an empirical analysis of the determinants of regional productivity growth in Europe, using the most recent Cambridge Econometrics regional database, EU KLEMS growth and productivity accounts and EuroStat R&D data. We apply a reduced-form empirical specification for semi-endogenous productivity growth that allows for differences in steady state income levels and long-run growth rates. Productivity growth in a region depends on its level of human capital, the investments in R&D, and the productivity gap with the technology frontier. Empirical findings show that these factors are interrelated. Apart from a technology gap, absorptive capacity is important to realize catch-up. Both convergence and divergence of productivity across regions are possible. Results show that all considered factors have significant effect on disparity in regional productivity growth, although effects across manufacturing and service sectors are different. The estimated model also features stable dynamic properties in response to an exogenous shock. Keywords: Semi-endogenous Growth, Regional Convergence, International Transfer of Technology, human capital, R&D.
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Ignazio Vinci
    Abstract: For decades the Italian system of planning has been strongly characterized by a regulatory approach and the question of cities’ development had been taken into account within general land use plans. In the 1990s this approach has been considered a strong constraint on the regeneration of cities and the revitalization of their economic potential. Therefore, in the last decade the improvement of flexibility and participation within planning processes were considered primary objectives both at regional and local levels. In addition to spatial regulatory plans, large and medium sized cities became increasingly interested in developing urban strategic plans following the model of some European “success stories†of urban regeneration (such as Barcelona, Lyon, Glasgow). In a first phase, these planning experiments were prevalently carried out by the cities of the Northern regions (such us Torino, Firenze, Venezia, Trento) and supported by strong voluntary public-private partnerships. In a second phase, after a financial programme by the Ministry of Economy, more then 150 cities in the Southern regions started strategic planning processes. These latest strategic plans (at present under observation both from policy makers and urban-regional scientists) should be evaluated in a very different way in comparison with the strategic plans carried out in Northern Italy. That’s for two main reasons: • First, because the majority of Southern cities still lag behind from an economic point of view, in addiction to very problematic governance environments and fragmented local societies; • Secondly, as a consequence of the financial support provided to municipalities, because the national and the regional authorities require Southern cities to improve, through strategic planning, their capacity to implement effective regeneration programmes and to increase their access to the EU structural funds. Starting from these distinctive issues, this paper aims to critically discuss the spreading of strategic planning in Southern Italian regions, trying to analyse the ongoing process of innovation as regards the objectives undertaken at national level.
    Date: 2011–09
  9. By: Berliant, Marcus; Watanabe, Hiroki
    Abstract: Zipf’s law is one of the best-known empirical regularities of the city-size distribution. There is extensive research on the subject, where each city is treated symmetrically in terms of the cost of transactions with other cities. Recent developments in network theory facilitate the examination of an asymmetric transport network. Under the scale-free transport network framework, the chance of observing extremes becomes higher than the Gaussian distribution predicts and therefore it explains the emergence of large clusters. City-size distributions share the same pattern. This paper proposes a way to incorporate network structure into urban economic models and explains the city-size distribution as a result of transport cost between cities.
    Keywords: Zipf’s law; city-size distribution; scale-free network
    JEL: R40 R12
    Date: 2011–11–17
  10. By: Thomas K. Bauer; Michael Fertig; Matthias Vorell
    Abstract: Using a unique dataset for Germany that links individual longitudinal data from the SOEP to regional data from the federal employment agency and data of real estate prices, we evaluate the impact of neighborhood unemployment on individual employment propects. The panel setup and richness of the data allows us to overcome some of the identification problems which are present in this strand of literature. The empirical results indicate that there is a significant negative impact of neighborhood unemployment on the individual employment probability.
    Keywords: Social interactions; unemployment; neighborhood characteristics
    JEL: J64 R23
    Date: 2011
  11. By: Elvira Uyarra
    Abstract: Despite the popularity of the concept 'regional innovation system' (RIS) in the academic literature and in policy practice, multiple interpretations and uses of the term coexist. For instance while some scholars view RIS as subsystems of national or sector-based systems presenting particular spatial features, other portray them as smaller-scale versions of national systems (Lagendijk, 1999; Howells, 1999; Iammarino, 2005, Uyarra, 2010). Doloreux & Parto (2005) identify three dimensions of regional innovation systems, namely: the interactions between different actors in the innovation process, the role of institutions, and the use of regional innovation systems analysis to inform policy decisions. More generally, Werker & Athreye (2004) differentiate between micro and meso approaches explaining regional innovation; while the former concentrate on the entrepreneurial behaviour of innovative firms, the latter focus on the structural elements manifested in the institutional set-up of regional and industrial systems. Boschma & Frenken (2006) distinguish between institutional and evolutionary views to innovation and geography as alternatives to neoclassical views. Related literature on national innovation systems (NIS) is no less heterogeneous, with numerous usages and interpretations (Miettinen, 2002; Balzat & Hanusch, 2004; Sharif, 2006; Lundvall, 2007). Despite the popularity of the concept ‘innovation system’ in the academic literature and in policy practice, the term itself remains ambiguous (Doloreux & Parto 2005; Uyarra, 2010). This fuzziness (Markusen, 2003), even ‘black boxing’ of the term, may have obscured certain aspects influencing regional development while overstating others (Uyarra & Flanagan, 2010).
    Keywords: Regional systems of innovation, institutions,innovation policy
    JEL: B52 R1 O31
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Luisa Gagliardi
    Abstract: What is the effect of an increase in the stock of human capital on the innovative performance of a local economy? This paper tests the hypothesis of a causal link between an increase in the average stock of human capital, due to skilled migration inflows, and the innovative performance of local areas using British data. The paper examines the role of human capital externalities as crucial determinant of local productivity and innovative performance, suggesting that the geographically bound nature of these valuable knowledge externalities can be challenged by the mobility of skilled individuals. Skilled migration becomes a crucial channel of knowledge diffusion broadening the geographical scope of human capital externalities and fostering local innovative performance.
    Keywords: Innovation, migration, education, externalities
    JEL: O15 O31 I2 H22
    Date: 2011–11
  13. By: Meyborg, Mirja
    Abstract: In recent years, it has widely been accepted that the ability to create, access and use knowledge and technology is becoming a fundamental determinant of long-term development and competitiveness. Thus, it is not surprising that universities have increasingly become involved in economic development and are often believed to play a key role in regional economic development. This paper firstly examines how far all West-German universities are already involved in close network collaborations. Second, it demonstrates how many distinct linkages 45 chosen West-German universities already possess within the innovation network, and third, to what extent they are already needed as a link in the chains of contacts. Thereby, special attention is given to the eight West-German elite-universities. We basically found out that university interactions, especially university-enterprise networks, become much more important over the last 20 years, as their cooperation activity strongly increased over time. Besides, their distinct linkages to other actors as well as their importance as an intermediary within the innovation network highly increased over the last decade, too; this especially holds for the eight West-German elite universities. --
    Keywords: Human Capital,Economic Growth,Social Network Analysis,Patent Analysis,Patent Collaboration,Network Interaction,West-German University,Elite-University
    Date: 2011
  14. By: Stefano Magrini; Margherita Gerolimetto
    Abstract: In this paper we present a spatial nonparametric analysis of local multipliers. Following Moretti (2010), we estimate the effect of an exogenous shock in the employment of the tradable sector on the employment in either the nontradable sector or the rest of the tradable sector using a nonparametric procedure that allows for spatial effects. In addition, due to its nonparametric nature, the adopted procedure is robust not only to possibly nonlinear functional forms but also to endogeneity in the regressors. Our analysis shows that the inclusion of spatial effects reveals the presence of a nonlinear relationship between tradable on nontradable.
    Date: 2011–09
  15. By: Tomaso Pompili; Michela Martinoia
    Abstract: Empirical analyses highlight local structural features (territorial capital) as constraints on regional growth and interregional convergence processes, but scant attention is devoted to traditional localised resources and specifically the natural and cultural heritage. However, only the application of know-how embodied in human capital to resources provides value. Specifically, heritage becomes economically relevant through human capital acting via tourist, recreational and cultural activities. Although, because of its service exporting nature, tourism contributes to economic growth and job creation similarly to manufacturing, the literature concerned manufacturing and rarely studied tourism or extended results to it. Besides, in Europe tourism is the market activity most favouring policentricity, territorial cohesion and equity. On the other hand, heritage valorisation responding to tourist service demand has adverse effects on development (congestion) and environmental quality / resource consumption (heritage dissipation); these partly offset strictly economic benefits and over time weaken the destination’s pull, hence its value and its population’s welfare. Our goal is to analyse the role of territorial capital, and specifically of intangibles such as natural and cultural capital, in regional growth processes and in local response processes to exogenous crises, by building a national database of territorial capital in Italian provinces, containing synthetic endowment indicators for natural and cultural heritage, human capital, and structure and distribution of tourism and leisure industries. Our methodology includes the application of multivariate analyses, with state-of-the-art techniques. We use available European and national databases, augmented by ad hoc integrations if and when needed. The study area is Italy; the optimal tier is NUTS3, i.e. provinces, in Italy. The time reference is 1990-2010, to ensure a structural long-term approach. The paper is organised in the following way: - an initial section outlines the original data on 103 provinces, providing 33 proxy indicators of which major univariate statistics and correlations are explored; - a first main section reduces indicators into 5 synthetic indicators, by means of factor analysis; - a second main section reduces provinces into 11 ideal types, by means of cluster analysis; - a final section compares and interprets results, also with reference to 2007-2009 economic dynamics.
    Date: 2011–09
  16. By: Marie Ferru; Michel Grossetti; Marie-Pierre Bès
    Abstract: Social embeddedness appears to be a promising way to analyze knowledge collaborations, notably to better understand their build up and their spatial patterns. Nevertheless, measurement problems and an over-territorialized conception of the notion exist. When studying the formation of these partnerships, authors have underlined the embeddedness of innovators in social ties as a major factor (Walker, Kogut, 1994 ; Zucker et al., 1998); others have shed light on institutional devices (Ponomariov, Boardman, 2010 ; Eom, Lee, 2010), but few have integrated both relational and institutional forms of embeddedness. Moreover, “embeddedness is mostly conceived of as a spatial concept related to the local and regional levels of analysis†(Hess, 2004): scholars argued (Moka et al., 2007) and showed (Fischer, 1982 ; Wellman, 1996; Grossetti, 2002) that social ties easily build-up in the neighborhood. They thus conclude social embeddedness favors local partnerships without demonstrating it really. Finally at the empirical level, precise data are missing to identify social embeddedness (Giuri, Mariani, 2007). Therefore, regarding the existing studies, “the analytical scales and the spatiality of embeddedness needs to be scrutinized†(Hess, 2004) theoretically and empirically to determine “who is embedded, in what and what is so spatial about it ?†(Pike et al., 2000). We propose here to address this deficit thanks to the formulation of a method robust enough. In this perspective, an analytical framework which does not postulate the social network hegemony is needed. We realized further theoretical refinements by introducing the concept of « coordination resources » to indicate modalities that permit connections between actors without using interpersonal ties. To identify embeddedness effects, we then present an original method essentially based on interviews. We use it to a group of 264 cases of science-industry collaborations realized in France. Several results are revealed thanks to statistical and econometric treatments. We reaffirm the major weigh of social embeddedness in the build-up of partnerships and the complementary role of coordination resources. Social embeddedness appears to be independent from the partners features. It nevertheless impacts the geography of the partnership although it is not possible to associate systematically social embeddedness and local collaborations.
    Date: 2011–09
  17. By: Riccardo Crescenzi; Luisa Gagliardi; Marco Percoco
    Abstract: Social capital has remained relatively underexplored in innovation literature. Existing studies have failed to reach a consensus on its impact on local innovative performance: some empirical analyses emphasize a positive effect, others speak about a 'dark side' of social capital. This paper aims to fill this gap by shedding new light on the differential role of 'bonding' and 'bridging' social capital. The quantitative analysis of the innovative performance of the Italian provinces shows that social capital is an important predictor of innovative performance after controlling for 'traditional' knowledge inputs (R&D investments and human capital endowment) and other characteristics of the local economy. However, only 'bridging' social capital - based on weak ties - can be identified as the key driver of the process of innovation while 'bonding' social capital is shown to be negative for innovation. Instrumental variable analysis makes it possible to identify clear causal links between bridging (positive) and bonding (negative) social capital and innovation.
    Keywords: Innovation, social capital, knowledge transfer, regional development
    JEL: O31 O33 R15
    Date: 2011–11
  18. By: Amparo Maset-Llaudes; Ana Mª Fuertes-Eugenio; Pilar Pardo-Forcadell
    Abstract: The current urban planning model for Spanish cities does not meet the criteria for successful urban sustainability, in fact quite the opposite, it follows the disperse city model introduced twenty years ago by the boom in the construction industry and improved communication infrastructures. In this context, one way for Spanish cities to move towards sustainable principles is to consider integrated urban regeneration (IUR) as an alternative to building new housing. To estimate the impact of IUR on the current model, it is important to know firstly, how it is contemplated in Spanish legislation and applied in urban planning throughout Spain. From the normative point of view, territorial and urban planning decisions are the exclusive competence of the self-governing regions, although the Spanish government is responsible for national land use legislation. This study analyses the applicable urban planning legislation in each region by examining the mandatory regulations (laws and development regulations) on urban and territorial planning, the protection of natural areas, natural resource management, the environment and environmental quality, environmental assessment, housing and laws that explicitly refer to sustainability in each self-governing region, using a series of indicators produced for the purpose based on the contents of the 'White Paper on the Sustainability of Spanish Urban Planning'. This information provides an overview of the situation of IUR at national level and in each self-governing region, verifying the levels of compliance to reveal the gaps in Spanish sustainability legislation. The results of this study are linked to the lines of action in the Leipzig Charter on integrated urban development policy and in particular for deprived urban areas within cities.
    Date: 2011–09
  19. By: P. Bönisch; Peter Haug; A. Illy; L. Schreier
    Abstract: Similarly to western Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, the eastern part of Germany has experienced a still ongoing process of numerous amalgamations among counties, towns and municipalities since the mid-1990s. The evidence in the economic literature is mixed with regard to the claimed expenditure reductions and efficiency gains from municipal mergers. We therefore analyze the global efficiency of the municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt, for the first time in this context, using a double-bootstrap procedure combining DEA and truncated regression. This allows including environmental variables to control for exogenous determinants of municipal efficiency. Our focus thereby is on institutional and fiscal variables. Moreover, the scale efficiency is estimated to find out whether large units are necessary to benefit from scale economies. In contrast to previous studies, we chose the aggregate budget of municipal associations (“Verwaltungsgemeinschaften”) as the object of our analysis since important competences of the member municipalities are settled on a joint administrative level. Furthermore, we use a data set that has been carefully adjusted for bookkeeping items and transfers within the communal level. On the “eve” of a mayor municipal reform the majority of the municipalities were found to have an approximately scale-efficient size and centralized organizational forms (“Einheitsgemeinden”) showed no efficiency advantage over municipal associations.
    Keywords: efficiency, local government, DEA, bootstrap, demographic change, local institutions
    JEL: H11 H72
    Date: 2011–11
  20. By: Chadi, Adrian
    Abstract: While rising unemployment generally reduces people's happiness, researchers argue that there is a compensating social-norm effect for the unemployed individual, who might suffer less when it is more common to be unemployed. This empirical study, however, rejects this thesis for German panel data and finds individual unemployment to be even more hurtful when aggregate unemployment is higher. On the other hand, an extended model that separately considers individuals who feel stigmatised from living off public funds yields strong evidence that this group of people does in fact suffer less when the normative pressure to earn one's own living is lower. --
    Keywords: social norms,unemployment,well-being,social benefits,labour market policies
    JEL: I3 J6
    Date: 2011
  21. By: Fabio Padovano, CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Center, University of Rennes 1 (France) & DIPES-Università Roma Tre (Italy)
    Abstract: This paper examines the strategic interactions among the central and a subcentral government where incomplete information forces both to form expectations about the other’s behaviour, especially the probability that the central government will bail out the local one. Various determinants and outcomes of the strategic interaction are explored. The model generates empirical restrictions about the central government’s transfer decisions and the lower government’s spending behaviour. These restrictions are tested on a sample of 20 Italian Regions. Data show that bailing out expectations are a quantitatively important component of local government spending.
    Keywords: Expectations; intergovernmental relations; transfers; local public spending; bailing out; positive analysis
    JEL: H71 H73 H77 D78
    Date: 2011–10

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