nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2014‒07‒05
seventeen papers chosen by
Carlo D'Ippoliti
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Do economists need virtues? By David Lipka
  2. The roots of "Western European societal evolution" By Zsinka, László
  3. Can Aristotle Help Us Specify the Very Nature of Management Problem? By Marc Nikitin
  4. Firm Growth Dynamics: The importance of large jumps By ARATA Yoshiyuki
  5. The Analysis of Split Graphs in Social Networks Based on the K-Cardinality Assignment Problem By Belik, Ivan
  6. Corporate governance in Islamic Finance: Basic concepts and issues By Elasrag, Hussein
  7. The Inclusive Wealth Index. A Sustainability Indicator, Really? By Géraldine Thiry; Philippe Roman
  8. La pensée économique à l'épreuve de la crise de 2008 By Jérôme Maucourant
  9. Reviving Social Economy in Romania – between emerging social enterprises in all sectors, surviving communist coops, and subsidiaries of globalization actors By Cristina BARNA; Ancuta VAMEsU
  10. Social Networks as Contract Enforcement: Evidence from a Lab Experiment in the Field By Arun G. Chandrasekhar; Cynthia Kinnan; Horacio Larreguy
  11. The Critical Mass Approach to Achieve a Deal on Green Goods and Services: What is on the Table? How Much to Expect? By Jaime de MELO; Mariana VIJIL
  12. De la finance éthique à l'éthique dans la finance By Michel Lelart
  13. Save the planet for humans’ sake: The relation between social and environmental value orientations By Kurt A. Ackermann; Eva Fleiß; Jürgen Fleiß; Ryan O. Murphy; Alfred Posch
  14. Komparácia názorov na sociálnu zrelosť u denných a externých študentov By Misun, Juraj; Misunova Hudakova, Ivana
  15. World Input-Output Network By Federica Cerina; Zhen Zhu; Alessandro Chessa; Massimo Riccaboni
  16. Estado capaz (desenvolvimentista) e democracia em países pré-industriais By Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos
  17. Publicization versus Privatization: Recent worldwide evidence By Stefano CLÒ; Chiara F. DEL BÒ; Matteo FERRARIS; Carlo FIORIO; Massimo FLORIO; Daniela VANDONE

  1. By: David Lipka
    Abstract: In many works Deirdre McCloskey criticizes professional economics for ignoring virtues. Even though I disagree with details of her analysis I concur with her general conclusions. In the paper I sketch my own perspective on how economists could profit from the virtue discourse as developed by Adam Smith. My argument is intended for economists who believe economics is about implications of individual choice. I distinguish behaviorist and mentalist interpretation and criticize the former. We all should be mentalists and admit the existence of the problem of interpretation. I briefly discuss neuroeconomics and evolutionary psychology as theories of interpretation and show that moral psychology can be viewed as one in morally relevant situations. I read Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments as an important contribution to the moral psychology. I outline the Smithian system and show what economists can learn from it. They can improve their interpretive skills but also cultivate their general outlook of the world by understanding how knowledge of the market process shapes interpretation of the choice problem. Their general outlook can do better provided that it is balanced with the complete array of virtues. If not it may provide a distorted picture of reality.
    Keywords: Moral sentiments, Adam Smith, Virtue, Interpretation, mentalism, behaviorism
    JEL: B12 D01 D83
    Date: 2014–06
  2. By: Zsinka, László
    Abstract: Jenő Szűcs wrote his essay entitled Sketch on the three regions of Europe in the early 1980s in Hungary. During these years, a historically well-argued opinion emphasising a substantial difference between Central European and Eastern European societies was warmly received in various circles of the political opposition. In a wider European perspective Szűcs used the old “liberty topos” which claims that the history of Europe is no other than the fulfillment of liberty. In his Sketch, Szűcs does not only concentrate on questions concerning the Middle Ages in Western Europe. Yet it is this stream of thought which brought a new perspective to explaining European history. His picture of the Middle Ages represents well that there is a way to integrate all typical Western motifs of post-war self-definition into a single theory. Mainly, the “liberty motif”, as a sign of “Europeanism” – in the interpretation of Bibó’s concept, Anglo-saxon Marxists and Weber’s social theory –, developed from medieval concepts of state and society and from an analysis of economic and social structures. Szűcs’s historical aspect was a typical intellectual product of the 1980s: this was the time when a few Central European historians started to outline non-Marxist aspects of social theory and categories of modernisation theories, but concealing them with Marxist terminology.
    Keywords: liberty topos, eurocentrism, structure analysis
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Marc Nikitin (LEO - Laboratoire d'économie d'Orleans - CNRS : UMR7322 - Université d'Orléans)
    Abstract: The question we address here is: "What is the very nature of managerial problems?". We first argue that real management problems, as opposed to technical problems, are those which do not have "a priori" solutions and for which the arguments for and against any important decision are more or less of equal weight. We then define managerial problems as recurrent dilemmas. Drawing on Aristotle's distinction between theoretical and practical sciences, we then try to analyze the consequences of the previous definition on an epistemological and a pedagogical point of view.
    Keywords: management ; managerial problem ; epistemology ; Aristotle
    Date: 2014–06–25
  4. By: ARATA Yoshiyuki
    Abstract: How a firm grows is one of the important themes in industrial organization literature. Recent empirical studies have demonstrated that the distribution of firms' growth rates is not Gaussian as predicted by the celebrated Gibrat's law (Gibrat, 1931), but rather is quite well fitted by the Laplace distribution. These findings challenge the existing theoretical models and also our understanding of the mechanism of firm growth. To explain the empirical distributions, we consider the firm growth dynamics in the framework of the L�vy process and infinitely divisible distributions. Our analysis shows that the growth of a firm does not result from the accumulation of small shocks as the existing models assume. Instead, it is characterized by a handful of large shocks to the firm, i.e., jumps. The result has important implications for our understanding of the nature of innovations.
    Date: 2014–06
  5. By: Belik, Ivan (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: In terms of social networks, split graphs correspond to the variety of interpersonal and intergroup relations. In this paper we analyse the interaction between the cliques (socially strong and trusty groups) and the independent sets (fragmented and non-connected groups of people) as the basic components of any split graph. Based on the Semi-Lagrangean relaxation for the k-cardinality assignment problem, we show the way of minimizing the socially risky interactions between the cliques and the independent sets within the social network.
    Keywords: Social networks; split graphs; k-cardinality assignment
    JEL: C00 C60 C61
    Date: 2014–02–28
  6. By: Elasrag, Hussein
    Abstract: This paper is one of few papers that highlight the importance of studying corporate governance for institutions offering Islamic financial services. The book is of value in describing governance in Islamic institutions and how there are many issues under the investigation process, especially issues related to the shari‘a Supervisory board and its functionality. One of the objectives of this paper is to discuss, and create greater awareness of, some of the crucial issues related to corporate governance in Islamic financial institutions. A second, but in fact more important, objective is to provide, in the light of this discussion, certain essential guidelines to improve corporate governance in these institutions and thereby enable them to not only maintain their momentum of growth and international acceptance but also safeguard the interests of all stakeholders. The paper gives particular attention to the mechanisms for corporate governance, including the Board of Directors, Senior Management, shareholders, depositors, and regulatory and supervisory authorities. It also focuses on the effective management of risks and, in particular, on creating a supporting environment through moral uplift, social, legal and institutional checks, greater transparency, internal controls, and Shari'a as well as external audit. The paper also indicates briefly the shared institutions that are needed for effective corporate governance.
    Keywords: Corporate governance,Islamic Finance,ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS,SHARI‘A GOVERNANCE
    JEL: G0 G15 G2 G21 G34
    Date: 2014–05–26
  7. By: Géraldine Thiry (Le Collège d'études mondiales/FMSH - Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme); Philippe Roman (IHEAL - Institut des Hautes Études de l'Amérique latine - Université Paris III - Sorbonne nouvelle)
    Abstract: Among recent high-profile propositions to revise national accounts and to provide new indicators of sustainability and well-being, the Inclusive Wealth Framework and the related Inclusive Wealth Index (thereafter IWI), first released during the "Rio+20" Conference, undoubtedly stand out as the most promising endeavour. Built up at the confluence of welfare, development and sustainability economics, the indicator is supposed to bring information about the wealth of nations and their sustainability, in a comprehensive way. The inclusive wealth framework is nevertheless fraught with limitations, due to questionable theoretical assumptions and gaps in data availability. We propose a critical appraisal of the index and its underlying framework. Our conclusion is that these limitations undermine its capacity to reach the goals it was given, and to fulfill the requirements of a satisfactory sustainability indicator. Special emphasis is put on the misleading pretension of (neoclassical) economics to handle highly complex, uncertain and manifold issues, even on theoretical bases renovated by dropping some optimality assumptions. We briefly sketch alternative research avenues, that appear more conducive to the endorsement of strong sustainability, and less prone to economism. Alleged theoretical consistency and elegance should not beguile us when choosing indicators for sustainable and prosperous societies.
    Keywords: inclusive wealth; sustainability; well-being; indicators; green accounting
    Date: 2014–06–01
  8. By: Jérôme Maucourant (TRIANGLE - Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - CNRS : UMR5206 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Lyon - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne)
    Abstract: La perpétuation, spécialement en Europe, des logiques libérales au sein des politiques économiques, deux années après la crise de 2008, peut surprendre. À côté d'une façon de " keynésianisme du désastre ", que l'on tente d'occulter ou d'abandonner, parce que le fétiche de la " reprise " semble paraître ou que les dettes publiques semblent excessives désormais, les offensives visant à la réduction des sphères publiques ont repris de la vigueur. Le FMI reprend son rôle de syndic de la banque internationale et les velléités de réglementation de la finance sont presque oubliées. À la déflation du public s'ajoute l'amoindrissement du commun : comme jamais, les lieux du commun se réduisent à mesure que s'utilisent à l'excès les ressources naturelles et que se constatent les irréversibilités environnementales. Tel est, sans doute, le prix à payer pour que la croissance des pays " émergents " ranime le Capital défaillant. Sans doute, mais pas seulement. Il est essentiel de prendre en compte un effet de rémanence idéologique. Le libéralisme, comme culture, s'est enraciné depuis deux siècles ; il possède, à l'image du discours religieux, une capacité étonnante à immuniser les consciences collectives des chaos du monde réel qu'il contribue à produire et entretenir. Sans ce ciment qui unit les consciences, le capitalisme ne tiendrait pas longtemps. Un aspect de cette culture nous concerne précisément : la croyance en une " science économique ", fiction qui rationalise, organise et justifie notre monde à partir de la référence centrale au " marché ". En ce sens, une part des productions savantes a une fonction mythopoiétique. D'où l'effet en retour que l'on doit signaler : si des mythes économiques contribuent à construire le monde, il faut les identifier comme tels et, finalement, alimenter la controverse sur le soubassement d'une science construite sur la centralité du marché. Cette place occupée par le marché a un avantage important dans le champ académique : négliger la puissance structurante du Capital. L'obsession du marché, en effet, revient à méconnaître la force d'un rapport social spécifique de séparation, ce qui est la marque de fabrique de l'idéologie ordinaire unissant dans le règne de l'idéel ce qui est séparé dans l'empire du matériel. Nous ferons donc, en premier lieu, une brève esquisse de ce qui fut " l'impérialisme de l'économie " des années 1970-1990, mouvement poussant l'économie " hors d'elle-même " et approfondissant l'autonomie supposée de celle-ci vis-à-vis des autres sciences sociales. En conséquence, il s'est constitué une clôture de la théorie, qui s'est immunisée contre nombre de faits : on prétend encore que la solution à la crise actuelle est l'institution de nouveaux marchés et la liquidation de tout ce qui peut s'apparenter à des garanties de l'Etat. Ces mécanisme de défense surgissent avec une vigueur qu'on ne lui avait pas connue depuis les années 1930, même s'il faisait quelques années que les crises mineures du capital mondialisé, celles des années 1990, suscitaient semblable tropisme. Ensuite, nous aborderons, successivement, l'étude de fragments révélateurs de trois importants économistes contemporains, dans le dessein d'illustrer que l'occultation du Capital, au profit du marché ou de ses simulacres, implique des impasses. Comme le prix " en mémoire d'Alfred Nobel " (offert par la Banque de Suède) est la distinction qu'affectionnent les économistes du courant dominant, nous choisirons donc d'évoquer quelques aspects des travaux de North, Stiglitz et Krugman. Bien que le triomphe de la " mentalité de marché " ait durablement ossifié le travail de nombreux économistes, ces économistes de renom se sont autorisés quelques émancipations révélatrices vis-à-vis de carcans longtemps respectés. Ce sont les graves dérives de la science économique qui les ont conduits à prendre leur distance vis-à-vis de discours ou de pratiques, lesquels, risquaient, à terme, de discréditer leur idéal scientifique. Stiglitz et Krugman sont assurément les plus critiques sur l'idéologie dominante imprégnant la grande majorité de leurs collègues , North prétendant, de façon moins hérétique, construire un cadre qui englobe la théorie néoclassique, de façon à rendre compte du changement. Néanmoins, le fait est que tous, à leur façon, redécouvrent la question politique, sans s'engager réellement sur la voie de l'économie politique qu'il nous faut distinguer de la science économique, structurée par une logique formaliste . Avant de conclure sur la nécessité d'aller au-delà de l'offre et de la demande, nous évoquerons une pensée française dans la mondialisation : Pierre Dockès s'inquiète de ce que la peur de la mondialisation ne soit que l'expression d'une peur régressive de l'altérité. Cette crainte sérieuse ne devrait-elle pas, pourtant, nous faire oublier que le " protectionnisme social et écologique " a des forts arguments en sa faveur, notamment dans l'Europe de ce début de siècle ?
    Keywords: science économique, crise de 2008, Krugman, North, Stiglitz
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Cristina BARNA (Institute of Social Economy (CSDF), Bucharest, Romania); Ancuta VAMEsU (Institute of Social Economy (CSDF), Bucharest, Romania)
    Abstract: Social economy could be considered a response to the current eco-socio-economic crisis, in fact the first crisis of the globalization era. Developing social economy could mean sustainable, largely non-exportable jobs, social inclusion, improvement of local social services, and territorial cohesion. Maybe the tensions between “global” and “local” show a new wave of globalization system whose pre-condition is a sustainable territorial development. Romania in particular has faced a fast-paced transition from a closed society and economy to a country acting in a global market, including an open, global labor market. This meant dramatic changes in property regime and work, employment conditions, a context in which solutions from the top did no longer work and generated a framework for new organizational and entrepreneurial forms of social economy to play a role. Can institutions of the social economy create the path towards territorial, locally-based development in Romania? Could these territories become anchors in the context of the structural changes we live, for a real “globalization with human face” and for the ambitious objectives to be reached by 2020 by Europe in the five main areas: employment, innovation, climate change, education and poverty? We face a paradigm shift in a changing Europe, we have to unlock the potential of social enterprises – the emerging types, but also the past surviving coops
    Keywords: social economy, social enterprise, cooperative, territorial development, globalization, Romania
    JEL: L30 L31
    Date: 2014–07
  10. By: Arun G. Chandrasekhar; Cynthia Kinnan; Horacio Larreguy
    Abstract: Absence of well-functioning formal institutions leads to reliance on social networks to enforce informal contracts. Social ties may aid cooperation, but agents vary in network centrality, and this hierarchy may hinder cooperation. To assess the extent to which networks substitute for enforcement, we conducted high-stakes games across 34 Indian villages. We randomized subjects' partners and whether contracts were enforced to estimate how partners’ relative network position differentially matters across contracting environments. Socially close pairs cooperate even without enforcement; distant pairs do not. Pairs with unequal importance behave less cooperatively without enforcement. Thus capacity for cooperation depends on the underlying network.
    JEL: D03 D14 O16 Z13
    Date: 2014–06
  11. By: Jaime de MELO (Ferdi); Mariana VIJIL (FERDI)
    Abstract: At the Davos forum of January 2014, a group of 14 countries pledged to launch negotiations on liberalising trade in ‘green goods’ (also known as`environmental goods’(EGs)), focussing on the elimination of tariffs for an ‘APEC list’ of 54 products. The paper shows that the ‘Davos group’, with an average tariff of 1.8%, has little to offer as countries have avoided submitting products with tariffs peaks for tariff reductions. Even if the list were extended to the 411 products on the ‘WTO list’, taking into account tariff dispersion, their tariff structure on EGs would be equivalent to a uniform tariff of 3.4%, about half the uniform tariff-equivalent for non EG products. Enlarging the number of participants to low-income countries might be possible as, on average, their imports would not increase by more than 8 percent. However, because of the strong complementarities between trade in Environmental Goods and trade in Environmental Services, these should also be brought to the negotiation table even though difficulties in reaching agreement on their scope are likely to be great.
    JEL: F18 Q56
    Date: 2014–06
  12. By: Michel Lelart (LEO - Laboratoire d'économie d'Orleans - CNRS : UMR7322 - Université d'Orléans)
    Abstract: En matière de finance, la référence à l'éthique devient plus populaire que jamais. Cela tient naturellement aux crises financières qui se suivent en s'amplifiant. La finance est en effet de moins en moins éthique, mais certaines pratiques financières le sont restées davantage. C'est le cas de la finance qui se veut éthique et de la finance islamique. C'est aussi, mais à un moindre degré, de la finance solidaire et de la microfinance. Ce papier est aussi l'occasion de montrer ce que ces différentes variétés de pratiques financières ont de particulier et de les comparer.
    Keywords: éthique ; finance éthique ; finance islamique ; finance solidaire ; microfinance ; finance informelle
    Date: 2014–06–26
  13. By: Kurt A. Ackermann (Chair of Decision Theory and Behavioral Game Theory, ETH Zurich); Eva Fleiß (Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz); Jürgen Fleiß (Institute of Statistics and Operations Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz); Ryan O. Murphy (Chair of Decision Theory and Behavioral Game Theory, ETH Zurich); Alfred Posch (Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz)
    Abstract: The literature shows a significant correlation between people’s concerns for others and their concerns for the environment. However, these social and environmental considerations were commonly measured by means of attitude questionnaires that were not incentivized and did not readily facilitate a direct comparison of the results. In the present experiment, we employed a consistent incentivized method to assess subjects’ social value orientations (SVO) and their concerns for the environment and humanitarian aid. Subjects make real decisions with real consequences regarding the distribution of resources while the experimental design ensured comparability of subjects’ social preferences and their willingness to make tradeoffs for different environmental and social causes. We found that social and environmental value orientations are intertwined to some extent, but that the nature of the association is not simple. Nonetheless the results clearly show that people are generally willing to pay more for the benefit of people in need, compared to abstract environmental causes. We conclude that interventions to nudge people towards environment-friendly behavior may have a greater impact if human suffering as resulting from global warming is made salient.
    Date: 2014–06–17
  14. By: Misun, Juraj; Misunova Hudakova, Ivana
    Abstract: The term social maturity becomes currently more and more important, because egoism, pursuit of wealth, shoddy and unscrupulous people are today dominating. Thanks to these qualities of humans, organizations and society as a whole, we can determine the nature of people and their personality. This is also working in the professional life, because character qualities of management subjects constitute the top of social maturity. Social maturity belongs to one of the three pillars of the holistic managerial competence and represents the key pillar. The other two are manager knowledge and application skills. Social maturity is a conscious or unconscious observance of basic human principles of behavior, enabling them to maintain the holistic of personality. A human being becomes social mature through qualities that he/she receives either through genetic heritability or through the environment in which he/she raises and education. The main groups of these qualities are character properties, will qualities, cognitive qualities, creative qualities, qualities of temperament, emotional qualities, somatic – physical qualities and somatic – spiritual qualities. Through the questionnaire method, we examined opinions of management subjects on each of the three pillars of the holistic managerial competence. Exact 300 respondents from Slovakia and the Czech Republic belonged either to a group of managers, full-time or part-time students. The aim of the paper is a comparison of views of full-time and part-time students on issues of social maturity.
    Keywords: Social maturity, social intelligence, holistic managerial competence, sustainable development.
    JEL: M12 M19
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Federica Cerina (Department of Physics, University of Cagliari); Zhen Zhu (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Alessandro Chessa (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Massimo Riccaboni (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)
    Abstract: Economic systems, traditionally analyzed as almost independent national systems, are increasingly connected on a global scale. Only recently becoming available, the World Input-Output Database (WIOD) is one of the first efforts to construct the multi-regional input-output (MRIO) tables at the global level. By viewing the world input-output system as an interdependent network where the nodes are the individual industries in different economies and the edges are the monetary goods ows between industries, we study the network properties of the so-called world input-output network (WION) and document its evolution over time. We are able to quantify not only some global network properties such as assortativity, clustering coeficient, and degree and strength distributions, but also its subgraph structure and dynamics by using community detection techniques. Over time, we detect a marked increase in cross-country connectivity of the production system, only temporarily interrupted by the 2008-2009 crisis. Moreover, we find a growing input-output regional community in Europe led by Germany and the rise of China in the global production system. Finally, we use the network-based PageRank centrality and community coreness measure to identify the key industries and economies in the WION and the results are different from the one obtained by the traditional final-demand-weighted backward linkage measure.
    Keywords: Complex Networks; Input-Output; PageRank Centrality; Community Detection
    JEL: C67 F10 F15
    Date: 2014–07
  16. By: Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos
    Abstract: This paper distinguishes three types of countries (rich, middle-income, and pre-industrial) and discusses the problems of state capability and the quality of democracy in the later, which include the poor countries. A consolidate democracy supposes that the country has realized its capitalist revolution and counts with a relatively capable state. The challenge of pre-industrial countries is to build their nation and a reasonably capable state, and to make their national and industrial revolution. The democratic state will be its main instrument to achieve the five political objectives that modern societies defined historically: security, individual liberty, economic well-being, social justice, and protection of the environment. Given the demand of the people and the pressure of rich countries since the 1980s, this state will have to be democratic, but, historically, all industrial revolutions were the outcome of a developmental strategy, and none of them were accomplished in the realm of democracy. This is the main contradiction and the main challenge faced by populist leaders who try to develop their countries, having as adversaries the local liberal oligarchy and the rich countries or the West. They must build a capable state, but their poorly organized societies do not help. They must give priority to economic growth, but the people ask for more social services. Thus, to govern these countries is extremely difficult.
    Date: 2014–06–24
  17. By: Stefano CLÒ (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy); Chiara F. DEL BÒ (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy); Matteo FERRARIS (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy); Carlo FIORIO (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy); Massimo FLORIO (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy); Daniela VANDONE (DEMM, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes deals involving private and State-owned enterprises (SOEs) worldwide since 2004. We consider four types of deals: privatizations, publicizations, private reorganizations (i.e private firms acquiring a private target) and public reorganizations. (i.e. both acquirers and targets are SOEs). We study whether the predeal performance and corporate characteristics of the acquirer and target companies vary across the four types of deals depending on ownership: public or private. Data are taken from Zephyr, which provides information on completed deals worldwide and Orbis, a firm-level dataset. The empirical analysis suggests the following. Some results of previous literature on M&As performed by private firms (‘the inefficiency management hypothesis’) are both confirmed and expanded. Acquirers involved in deals are both larger and better performing than their targets but some qualifications are in order with respect to ownership. The difference in size and performance between acquirers and targets is in fact more pronounced for public with respect to private acquirers. The evidence thus points to an active role of SOEs as acquires, as they significantly out-perform relative to their targets, including private ones, in terms of return on sales. Given these novel findings, further research is needed to examine the motivations behind the different types of deals considered and to verify the role of ownership.
    Keywords: Publicization, Privatization, State-owned enterprises, M&As.
    JEL: L32 L22 G34
    Date: 2014–03

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