nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2019‒03‒25
twenty papers chosen by
Carlo D’Ippoliti
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Comparative analysis of agrarian theories, ideologies, rural development institutions By Nikulin, Alexander (Никулин, Александр)
  2. Une analyse de la nature de l’investissement immatériel par le rapport capital / travail. By Alexis Jeamet
  3. Transformation of what? Or: The socio-ecological transformation of working society By Barth, Thomas; Jochum, Georg; Littig, Beate
  4. Values of Economists Matter in the Art and Science of Economics By van Dalen, Harry
  5. Do Social Enterprises Walk the Talk? Assessing Microfinance Performances with Mission Statements By Roy Mersland; Samuel Anokye Nyarko; Ariane Szafarz
  6. Sraffa on Marshall's Theory of Value in the Cambridge Lectures: Achievements in an Unfinished Criticism By Trezzini, Attilio
  7. Women Empowerment Index: Construction of a Tool to Measure Rural Women Empowerment Level in India By Roy, Chandan; Chatterjee, Susmita; Dutta Gupta, Sangita
  8. An empirical validation protocol for large-scale agent-based models By Sylvain Barde; Sander Van Der Hoog
  9. Engaging with men and masculinities in fragile and conflict-affected states By OECD
  10. The Macroeconomic Implications of Consumption: State-of-Art and Prospects for the Heterodox Future Research By Brochier, Lidia; Macedo e Silva, Antonio Carlos
  11. The Prosumer Economy -- Being Like a Forest By Uygar Ozesmi
  12. الصناعة التقليدية في الجزائر: تقييم الملائمة الاقتصادية و البيئية في ظل النموذج الاقتصادي الاجتماعي الأخلاقي By Benzarour, Choukri; Mekhnache, Aissam
  13. La protection sociale : de l'incertitude au risque, de l'Etat Providence à l'Etat social-écologique By Eloi Laurent
  14. Systems Innovation, Inertia and Pliability: A mathematical exploration with implications for climate change abatement By Michael Grubb; Jean-Francois Mercure; Pablo Salas; Rutger-Jan Lange; Ida Sognnaes
  15. Transformational Complexity, Systemic Complexity and Economic Development By Jose Miguel Natera; Fulvio Castellacci
  16. The new spirit of neoliberalism: equality and economic prosperity By Hélène Périvier; Réjane Sénac
  17. Justice climatique et transition sociale-écologique By Eloi Laurent
  18. Job losses and political acceptability of climate policies: why the ‘job-killing’ argument is so persistent and how to overturn it By Francesco Vona
  19. Tracking Financial Fragility By Giordani, Paolo; Kwan, Simon H.
  20. Critical Factors for Success among Social Enterprises in India By Katsuo Matsumoto

  1. By: Nikulin, Alexander (Никулин, Александр) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: In recent years, the focus of agrarian research has shifted from peasant studies to agrarian and environmental practices, which eliminates the gap between macroeconomic programs and microeconomic realities of rural life and reduces the intensity of the struggle of competing ideologies (liberal, populist, marxist, postmodern, etc.) by withdrawing the study of agricultural practices from political-economic domain into historiographical theorizing and economic modeling. To confirm this thesis, the preprint identifies general trends in the development of key modern agrarian theories and ideologies and theoretical-methodological foundations of the comparative agrarian analysis, and presents the case of the Brazilian social-economic boom as determined by a complex combination of local and regional agrarian and rural development strategies.
    Date: 2019–03
  2. By: Alexis Jeamet (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN))
    Abstract: Cet article propose de revisiter le concept d’investissement immatériel en posant la question de la nature de celui-ci. Ce travail d’inspiration marxienne analysera la transformation de la nature de l’investissement immatériel en partant des transformations du rapport capital / travail. À partir des modifications de ce rapport identifiées grâce à la notion de subsomption du travail au capital, nous chercherons à appréhender la nature de l’investissement immatériel au travers du rapport actifs / ressources immatérielles. L’identification de ces ressources potentielles poussera nos investigations hors de la sphère de la production. Les notions « d’exploitation de second degré » et de « mobilisation totale » seront alors mobilisées pour comprendre ce qui caractérise aujourd’hui l’investissement immatériel et notamment le fait que les entreprises n’investissent plus seulement dans du capital fixe, mais aussi, et surtout dans les capacités créatives et d’innovations des individus et du corps collectif, plus encore dans le développement d’une nouvelle subjectivité capitaliste. Nous développons donc l’hypothèse que pour analyser le capitalisme contemporain il est nécessaire d’enrichir le concept d’investissement grâce à une redéfinition de l’investissement immatériel et cela en partant des transformations précédemment identifiées.
    Keywords: Investissement immatériel, subsomption du travail, accumulation, connaissance.
    JEL: B51 E22 J24
    Date: 2019–03
  3. By: Barth, Thomas (Institute for Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany); Jochum, Georg (School of Governance, Technical University of Munich, Germany); Littig, Beate (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: The critical strand of the current sustainability discourse often refers to Karl Polanyi's work "The Great Transformation" (e.g. “World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability”, German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), 2011). However, this reference is usually shortened, since in particular Polanyi's remarks about the commodification of labor are disregarded. Overall, work still plays a marginal role in the entire sustainability discourse. Consequently analytical as well as transformative potential remains unused. In our paper we want to put work into the center of the reflections on transformation and outline ways of a socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable work society. For Polanyi the marketization of work and nature was in the center of his analysis of industrial society. He argues that market societies are constituted by two opposing movements - the laissez-faire movement to expand the scope of the market, and the protective countermovement that emerges to resist the disembedding of the economy. Thus transformation concepts which refer to Polanyi have to focus on the socio-ecological transformation of the working society. Accordingly, it is not just an energy turnaround as often argued, but a “work turnaround” that needs to be at the center of the (sustainability-oriented) transformation debate, which finally involves the re-embedding of the markets into society and the ecosystems. Summing up our arguments, we come to the conclusion that dominant sustainability-oriented transformation concepts fail (e.g. decarbonization, green economy), since they primarily aim at the ecological reorientation of market mechanisms. We argue that the initial point of the fundamental transformation of social relations and of social relations with nature is the (re-)organization of work. A transition to sustainability means in other words, reconceptualizing the global world of work by redefining the concept of work itself and its structural (e.g. the gendered and global division of work, paid/unpaid work, technological innovations) and institutional foundations (e.g. the role of the state). Exploring sustainable work provides a concrete basis for talking about both the direction of this transformation and the way to get there.
    Keywords: Societal-nature relationships, labor, Polanyi, sustainability, transformation research, commodification, work turnaround
    Date: 2019–02
  4. By: van Dalen, Harry (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: What role do personal values play in the practice of economists? By means of a survey among economists working inside and outside academia in the Netherlands, we present novel insights on their personal values, how these differ from the average citizen, and how values impact their economic views and their methodological choices. Three overarching values summarize the value structure of economists: achievement, serving the public interest, and conformity to rules. Subsequent tests are performed to see whether these values affect (1) their opinion on economic propositions and (2) their attitudes towards methodological principles in economics. For the majority of economic propositions, personal values matter. Especially the value of serving the public interest has a strong effect on their economic view. Furthermore, it seems that economists who value achievement are the ones who are more likely to embrace mainstream methodological principles: thinking predominantly in terms of efficiency, rationality, and competition, believing that economic knowledge is objective and transparently produced and in agreement with Milton Friedman’s view on positive economics. Female economists are at some notable points less convinced of market solutions and have more trust in the government in serving the public interest.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Roy Mersland; Samuel Anokye Nyarko; Ariane Szafarz
    Abstract: We study mission drift in social enterprises by examining whether these organizations stick to the actual mission enshrined in their mission statements. We use data from microfinance organizations (MFOs), a homogeneous group of social enterprises which have been scrutinized—and sometimes criticized—for mission drift. We focus on three publicly recognized and non-mutually-exclusive microfinance social missions identified by previous studies: poverty alleviation, women's empowerment, and rural financial inclusion. Based on hand-collected data from 199 MFOs worldwide, our results suggest strong coherence between social missions and actual practices. Hence, we argue that, with respect to MFOs’ own stated social missions, mission drift is no serious concern. The trustworthiness of social mission statements makes them suitable evaluation tools for social enterprises.
    Keywords: Mission statement; Mission drift; Microfinance; Social enterprise; Content analysis
    JEL: G21 G23 G28 G32 L21 O50 P36
    Date: 2019–03–13
  6. By: Trezzini, Attilio (Roma Tre University)
    Abstract: In his Cambridge lectures, Sraffa argues that classical political economy and marginalist economics present two alternative theoretical structures. This was a major achievement reached during the preparation of the lectures. The understanding of these two theoretical structures was however still unfinished: as known, he had already identified the need for simultaneous determination of prices and distribution - a result comprehensibly not made explicit in the lectures; but the critical implications of this result for the interpretation of Marshall's position were probably not yet evident to Sraffa. He in fact still accepted the Marshallian thesis that classical political economy and marginalist economics identified two single alternative “ultimate standards of value”. Sraffa’s failure to also overcome this limitation of the debate on the ultimate standard bears witness to his, albeit critical, initial adherence to the Marshallian theoretical framework. The road towards Production of Commodities was open but still unfinished.
    Keywords: Sraffa; Piero Sraffa Papers; Marshall; Theory of costs.
    JEL: B12 B13 B24 B31
    Date: 2019–03
  7. By: Roy, Chandan; Chatterjee, Susmita; Dutta Gupta, Sangita
    Abstract: Poverty ignites the societal gap between men and women, while economic development narrows it down through its gender promotional activities. There is bidirectional relationship between economic development and empowerment of women. Women empowerment, being dependent on complex sociological and economic issues, needs to be measured in terms of specific parameters like ‘access to resources’, ‘decision making capability’ and ‘ability to take a stand’. This particular study develops an Index based on few sector-specific parameters to measure empowerment level of women engaged in Self Help Groups. Both ‘individual empowerment index’ and ‘group empowerment indices’ have been constructed, where‘financial liberty’, ‘ability to take decisions’, ‘heath condition of the women and ‘ability to stand up against the evils of the society’ have been considered as her empowerment parameters. The index was applied on 300 SHG Group members of rural West Bengal, which provided us an idea about the existing level of rural women empowerment in West Bengal.
    Keywords: Women, Empowerment Index, Economic Development, Self Help Group, Economic Development
    JEL: B54 I15 O16 O20
    Date: 2017–07–31
  8. By: Sylvain Barde (Sciences Po); Sander Van Der Hoog (Universität Bielefeld)
    Abstract: Despite recent advances in bringing agent-based models (ABMs) to the data, the estimation or calibration of model parameters remains a challenge, especially when it comes to large-scale agentbased macroeconomic models. Most methods, such as the method of simulated moments (MSM), require in-the-loop simulation of new data, which may not be feasible for such computationally heavy simulation models. The purpose of this paper is to provide a proof-of-concept of a generic empirical validation methodology for such large-scale simulation models. We introduce an alternative ‘large-scale’ empirical validation approach, and apply it to the Eurace@Unibi macroeconomic simulation model (Dawid et al., 2016). This model was selected because it displays strong emergent behaviour and is able to generate a wide variety of nonlinear economic dynamics, including endogenous business- and financial cycles. In addition, it is a computationally heavy simulation model, so it fits our targeted use-case. The validation protocol consists of three stages. At the first stage we use Nearly-Orthogonal Latin Hypercube sampling (NOLH) in order to generate a set of 513 parameter combinations with good space-filling properties. At the second stage we use the recently developed Markov Information Criterion (MIC) to score the simulated data against empirical data. Finally, at the third stage we use stochastic kriging to construct a surrogate model of the MIC response surface, resulting in an interpolation of the response surface as a function of the parameters. The parameter combinations providing the best fit to the data are then identified as the local minima of the interpolated MIC response surface. The Model Confidence Set (MCS) procedure of Hansen et al. (2011) is used to restrict the set of model calibrations to those models that cannot be rejected to have equal predictive ability, at a given confidence level. Validation of the surrogate model is carried out by re-running the second stage of the analysis on the so identified optima and cross-checking that the realised MIC scores equal the MIC scores predicted by the surrogate model. The results we obtain so far look promising as a first proof-of-concept for the empirical validation methodology since we are able to validate the model using empirical data series for 30 OECD countries and the euro area. The internal validation procedure of the surrogate model also suggests that the combination of NOLH sampling, MIC measurement and stochastic kriging yields reliable predictions of the MIC scores for samples not included in the original NOLH sample set. In our opinion, this is a strong indication that the method we propose could provide a viable statistical machine learning technique for the empirical validation of (large-scale) ABMs
    Keywords: Statistical machine learning; Surrogate modelling; Empirical validation
    Date: 2017–07
  9. By: OECD
    Abstract: Gender inequality, conflict and fragility are key challenges to sustainable development. They are inextricably linked: unequal gender relations can drive conflict and violence, while women’s active participation in decision-making contributes to peace and resilience. This policy paper provides practical recommendations for donors and practitioners on how to integrate gender equality into programming in fragile and conflict-affected settings. It focuses on engaging men and boys and addressing masculinities in a transformative manner to change gendered power dynamics and achieve more equitable gender normsand peaceful outcomes.
    Keywords: conflict, development co-operation, donors, fragile situations, fragility, Gender equality, women’s empowerment
    JEL: D74 J16
    Date: 2019–03–15
  10. By: Brochier, Lidia; Macedo e Silva, Antonio Carlos
    Abstract: The recent US economic scenario has motivated a series of heterodox papers concerned with household indebtedness and consumption. Though discussing autonomous consumption, most of the theoretical papers rely on private investmentled growth models. An alternative approach is the so-called Sraffian supermultipler model, which treats long-run investment as induced, allowing for the possibility that other final demand components – including consumption – may lead long-run growth. We suggest that the dialogue between these approaches is not only possible but may prove to be quite fruitful.
    Keywords: Consumption. Household debt. Growth theories. Autonomous expenditures.
    JEL: B59 E12 E21
    Date: 2017–07
  11. By: Uygar Ozesmi
    Abstract: Planetary life support systems are collapsing due to climate change and the biodiversity crisis. The root cause is the existing consumer economy, coupled with profit maximisation based on ecological and social externalities. Trends can be reversed, civilisation may be saved by transforming the profit maximising consumer economy into an ecologically and socially just economy, which we call the prosumer economy. Prosumer economy is a macro scale circular economy with minimum negative or positive ecological and social impact, an ecosystem of producers and prosumers, who have synergistic and circular relationships with deepened circular supply chains, networks, where leakage of wealth out of the system is minimised. In a prosumer economy there is no waste, no lasting negative impacts on the ecology and no social exploitation. The prosumer economy is like a lake or a forest, an economic ecosystem that is productive and supportive of the planet. We are already planting this forest through, started in Turkey. Good4Trust is a community platform bringing together ecologically and socially just producers and prosumers. Prosumers come together around a basic ethical tenet the golden rule and share on the platform their good deeds. The relationship are already deepening and circularity is forming to create a prosumer economy. The platforms software to structure the economy is open source, and is available to be licenced to start Good4Trust anywhere on the planet. Complexity theory tells us that if enough agents in a given system adopt simple rules which they all follow, the system may shift. The shift from a consumer economy to a prosumer economy has already started, the future is either ecologically and socially just or bust.
    Date: 2019–03
  12. By: Benzarour, Choukri; Mekhnache, Aissam
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the appropriateness of the traditional and crafts sector to achieve economic and environmental performance in light of the socio-economic and moral model through its respect for the concept of corporate social responsibility. This study sheds light on the sector of handicrafts and crafts as one of the emerging alternatives to diversify the Algerian economy. It deals with the most important dimensions of the social responsibility of the institution under the socio-economic and moral model.
    Keywords: social responsibility of the institution , handicraft sector in Algeria, assess the suitability of craft activities in Algeria for economic and environmental performance.
    JEL: L6 M14 Q5
    Date: 2019–03–20
  13. By: Eloi Laurent (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: S’interroger sur la mission de la protection sociale au XXIe siècle et sur ses éventuelles ambiguïtés suppose de revenir à sa vocation première. La protection sociale ne consiste pas seulement dans la reconnaissance des risques et l’assurance des accidents : elle vise à transformer l’incertitude en risque pour mutualiser et réduire celui-ci et ainsi atténuer l’inégalité sociale. Cette mission, qui relève de la logique de l’assurance et de la solidarité, est donc éminemment éthique et politique et diverge en cela de l’assurance privée. Il ne s’agit pas tant d’assurer des accidents individuels que de produire de la sécurité collective. Cette fonction de sécurisation au fondement d’un État Providence qui entend mesurer, superviser et prévoir la société s’appuie sur la distinction établie en 1921 par Franck Knight [1921] 1 entre risque et incertitude : « Il faut distinguer entre deux types d’incertitude, celle qui est mesurable et celle qui ne l’est pas. On utilisera le mot “risque” pour l’incertitude qui est mesurable et l’on réservera “incertitude” aux situations qui ne sont pas mesurables. » Si la vie sociale est incertaine au sens de Knight, alors l’État Providence ne pourra pas protéger le bien-être humain. Mais si les accidents sociaux peuvent être normalisés, au sens statistique du terme, alors l’apparente fatalité peut être standardisée et domestiquée. On passe de risques individuels imprévisibles à un risque social maîtrisable, parce que calculé et mutualisé.
    Keywords: Protection sociale; Sécurité ; Risque; Incertitude; Mutualisation
    Date: 2018–01
  14. By: Michael Grubb (Energy and Climate Change, University College London); Jean-Francois Mercure (Environmental Science department, Radboud University, Nijmegen); Pablo Salas (University of Cambridge, CEENRG/Department of Land Economy); Rutger-Jan Lange (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Ida Sognnaes (University of Cambridge, CEENRG/Department of Land Economy)
    Keywords: Innovation, path dependence, inertia, learning by doing, climate change abatement, endogenous technological change, energy systems
    JEL: B52 L50 O33 O38 Q40 Q54
    Date: 2018–03
  15. By: Jose Miguel Natera (CONACYT-Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico); Fulvio Castellacci (TIK Centre, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: The paper develops two new notions of economic complexity based on the study of interactions between different capabilities. (1) Transformational complexity denotes a country’s pace of structural transformations over time, arguing that an economy is more t-complex if a large number of factors (capabilities) are able to drive the system out-of-equilibrium and towards new growth paths. (2) Systemic complexity represents a country’s overall density of causal relationships that link together its main capabilities, based on the idea that an economy is more s-complex if its growth path is simultaneously driven by several co-evolving factors. Making use of the Johansen cointegration approach, and using annual time series data for the period 1970-2015, we apply the new notions of complexity to the study of economic development for 134 countries. The results show that systemic (transformational) complexity is positively (negatively) correlated with the ECI index and with GDP per capita. This suggests that economic complexity can be achieved following different growth paths, depending on countries capabilities and the interactions among these.
    Date: 2019–03
  16. By: Hélène Périvier (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques); Réjane Sénac (Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po)
    Abstract: The 21st century began with a global crisis that is both economic and political in nature. In this context, an approach based on demonstrating how equality policies and the struggle against various types of discriminations are ‘performing’ has emerged. The approach is designed to show that priority must be given to implementation of the principle of equality, with ‘performance’ measured in terms of a cost-benefit analysis from an economic and social perspective. We analyze public justification of contemporary policies on gender equality and the fight against discrimination to highlight the consequences of this approach. We look at the role of equality in market regulation in order to shed light on the complex links between economic development and social progress. We show that justifications of equality policies draw on a cost-benefit analysis which legitimates them in the name of the economic and social benefits expected. We conclude that the foundations of equality and social justice are weakened by the importance accorded to the supposed or imagined benefits of equality policies and anti-discrimination. Equality thus submitted to a demonstration of its performance is no longer a principle but rather an option dependent on such demonstration.
    Keywords: Performance; Equality policies; Discrimination; Social investment
    Date: 2018
  17. By: Eloi Laurent (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: Il y a quelque chose de profondément rassurant à voir l’ampleur grandissante des marches pour le climat dans plusieurs pays du globe. Une partie de la jeunesse prend conscience de l’injustice qu’elle subira de plein fouet du fait de choix sur lesquels elle n’a pas (encore) de prise. Mais la reconnaissance de cette inégalité intergénérationnelle se heurte au mur de l’inégalité intra-générationnelle : la mise en œuvre d’une véritable transition écologique ne pourra pas faire l’économie de la question sociale ici et maintenant et notamment de l’impératif de réduction des inégalités. Autrement dit, la transition écologique sera sociale-écologique ou ne sera pas. C’est le cas en France, où la stratégie écologique nationale, à 90% inefficace aujourd’hui, doit être revue de fond en comble, comme proposé dans le nouveau Policy Brief de l’OFCE (n° 52, 21 février 2019). [Premier paragraphe]
    Keywords: Fiscalité carbone; Indicateurs alternatifs de richesse; Justice alimentaire; Pollution urbaine; Transition écologique
    Date: 2019–02
  18. By: Francesco Vona (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: Political acceptability is an essential issue in choosing appropriate climate policies. Sociologists and behavioural scientists recognize the importance of selecting environmental policies that have broad political support, while economists tend to compare different instruments first on the basis of their efficiency, and then by assessing their distributional impacts and thus their political acceptability. This paper examines case-study and empirical evidence that the job losses ascribed (correctly or incorrectly) to climate policies have substantial impacts on the willingness of affected workers to support these policies. In aggregate, the costs of these losses are significantly smaller than the benefits, both in terms of health and, probably, of labour market outcomes, but the losses are concentrated in specific areas, sectors and social groups that have been hit hard by the great recession and international competition. Localized contextual effects, such as peer group pressure, and politico-economic factors, such as weakened unions and tightened government budgets, amplify the strength and the persistence of the ‘job-killing’ argument. Compensating for the effects of climate policies on ‘left-behind’ workers appears to be the key priority to increase the political acceptability of such policies, but the design of compensatory policies poses serious challenges.
    Keywords: Climate policies; Employment impacts; Distributional impacts; Collective action problems; Amplification mechanisms; Political acceptability
    Date: 2019–02
  19. By: Giordani, Paolo (Norwegian Business School, Oslo); Kwan, Simon H. (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)
    Abstract: In constructing an indicator of financial fragility, the choice of which filter (or transformation) to apply to the data series that appear to trend in sample is often considered a technicality, but in fact turns out to matter a great deal. The fundamental assumption about the likely nature of observed trends in the data, for example, the ratio of credit to GDP, has direct effects on the measured gap or vulnerability. We discuss shortcomings of the most common filters used in the literature and policy circle, and propose a fairly simple and intuitive alternative - the local level filter. To the extent that validation will always be a challenge when the number of observed financial crises (in the US) is small, we conduct a simulation exercise to make the case. We also conduct a cross country analysis to show how qualitatively different the estimated credit gaps were as of 2017, and hence their policy implications in 29 countries. Finally, we construct an indicator of financial fragility for the US economy based on the view that systemic fragility stems mainly from high level of debts (among households and corporations) associated with high valuations for collateral assets (real estate, stocks). An indicator based on the local level filter signals elevated financial fragility in the US financial system currently, whereas the HP filter and the ten-year moving average provide much more benign readings.
    Date: 2019–02–28
  20. By: Katsuo Matsumoto
    Abstract: In addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is expected that governments, private sector businesses and civil society organizations will be involved. Social enterprises, in particular, are attracting global attention. While international development agencies have increased their investment in social enterprises, empirical research on their business practices remains limited. For the purpose of determining factors critical to the success of social enterprises in a developing world context, this paper examines the cases of for-profit social enterprises that provide goods and services necessary for poor communities constituting the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) in India. The paper identifies the distinctive business approaches that enable social enterprises to continue their work in what can be described as a challenging and critical geographical context.
    Keywords: SDGs, social enterprises, India, BoP, business model, distinctive business approach
    Date: 2018–12

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