nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2014‒03‒30
23 papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Une histoire asyncrone de l’économie et de l’écologie, et de leurs « passeurs » AN ASYNCHRONOUS HISTORY OF THE ECONOMICS AND ECOLOGY AND TO THEIR « BOATMEN » By Sophie BOUTILLIER; Patrick MATAGNE
  2. Vulnerabili e appassionati. Sui fondamenti antropologici della scienza economica By Nicolò Bellanca
  3. “Relative Movements of Real Wages and Output” – How does Keynes’s 1939 essay relate to his Principle of Effective Demand? By Jochen Hartwig
  4. On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games. By Le Zhang; Andreas Ortmann
  5. The laws of imitation and invention: Gabriel Tarde and the evolutionary economics of innovation By Faridah Djellal; Faïz Gallouj
  6. Profit for Marxists By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  7. Price Cutting and Business Stealing in Imperfect Cartels By B. Douglas Bernheim; Erik Madsen
  8. Inclusive Fitness Maximization: An Axiomatic Approach By OKASHA, Samir; WEYMARK, John A.; BOSSERT, Walter
  9. Equilibrium Selection in Sequential Games with Imperfect Information By Jon X. Eguia; Aniol Llorente-Saguer; Rebecca Morton; Antonio Nicolò
  10. The competition economics of financial fair play By Budzinski, Oliver
  11. Are Moral Islamic Economics an Answer to the Global Financial Crisis ? By Jean-Yves Moisseron; Frederic Teulon
  12. On open identity; otherness, distance and self-command; Smith and the view of justice By Gianni Vaggi; Sara Stefanini
  13. Gender differences and stereotypes in the beauty contest By María Cubel; Santiago Sanchez-Pages
  14. Crisis and the emergence of illicit markets: A pragmatist view on economic action outside the law By Dewey, Matías
  15. Just a Matter of Prospect (Theory)? - The Ecological Rationality of the Traditional Accounting Principles By Eduard Braun
  16. Putting integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach By Werner Erhard; Michael C. Jensen
  17. Directed Technical Change and Capital Deepening: A Reconsideration of Kaldor’s Technical Progress Function By Schlicht, Ekkehart
  18. Sophisticated gambler’s ruin and survival chances By Mehta, Salil
  19. Advances in Auctions By Kaplan, Todd R; Zamir, Shmuel
  20. Behavioral and Network Origins of Wealth Inequality: Insights from a Virtual World By Benedikt Fuchs; Stefan Thurner
  21. On the economics of others By Stark, Oded
  22. La place du racisme dans l’étude des discriminations By Christelle Hamel; Maud Lesné; Jean-Luc Primon
  23. Democracy Does Cause Growth By Daron Acemoglu; Suresh Naidu; Pascual Restrepo; James A. Robinson

  1. By: Sophie BOUTILLIER (Université du Littoral / Lille Nord de France, SITE/Clersé, UMR 8019); Patrick MATAGNE (Université de Poitiers, Laboratoire RURALITE, EA 2252)
    Abstract: La naissance de l’économie politique est communément liée à la publication en 1776 de « La richesse des nations » par A. Smith, le fondateur de l’école classique. Le principal objet de l’école classique est la production de richesses. Selon Smith, la richesse est le produit du travail et du commerce international. L’écologie devient également une discipline scientifique un siècle plus tard avec notamment les travaux d’E. Haeckel et d’E. Warming. Notre objectif est de revenir sur l’histoire de l’économie en tant que discipline scientifique, et d’étudier son développement en parallèle avec celui de l’écologie – à travers l’écart chronologique d’un siècle entre les deux disciplines. La pollution a pourtant toujours existé, sous des formes différentes. Par exemple, Engels (1883) explique comment des civilisations anciennes (Grèce, Mésopotamie, etc.) ont disparu en raison d’un déséquilibre entre ressources naturelles et besoins humains. Les « passeurs » sont des économistes ou des naturalistes qui ont construit des ponts entre les deux disciplines scientifiques depuis le 19ème siècle. The birth of political economics is commonly linked with the publication in 1776 of “the Wealth of nations” by A. Smith, the founder of the classical School. The main issue of classical economics is the production of wealth. According to Smith, wealth is the result of labour and international trade. Ecology became a scientific discipline too a century later, at the end of the 19th century, especially thanks to the works of E. Haeckel and E. Warming. Our goal is to go back to the basics of political economics as a scientific discipline, and to study the way it developed in parallel with ecology – though there is a chronological gap between both disciplines. Nevertheless, pollution has always existed but it has taken various shapes. For example, Engels (1883) explains how ancient civilizations (Greece, Mesopotamia, and so on) have been partly destroyed because of an imbalance between physical resources and human needs. The “boatmen” are economists or naturalists who have built bridges between the two scientific disciplines since the 19th century.
    Keywords: histoire économique, histoire de la théorie économique, histoire des sciences, écologie, economic history, history of the economic thought, history of sciences, ecology
    JEL: B1 N
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Nicolò Bellanca (Università degli Studi di Firenze)
    Abstract: Without the passions there would be little reason to act at all. Nevertheless, in standard economic models human action is driven solely by self-interest: the passions are supposed to interfere with our ability to form rational beliefs and to make rational choices. In fact, any action originated and nurtured by passions places its own raison d’être in itself. The acts motivated by passions can either improve or (even) worsen one’s wellbeing: there might not be any payoff in both the present and the future, and monetary incentives do not influence or mitigate their nature. Above all, under the influence of the passions, the actor does not calculate but instead “loses control”. This paper argues against the separation of passion-infused intimate relations and economic theory through a reconsideration of the anthropological conception of the economics.
    Keywords: Passions; Rational-choice explanation; Economics; Intentionality; Individualism.
    JEL: A12 D89 P17 Z13
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Jochen Hartwig (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: Keynes’s essay “Relative Movements of Real Wages and Output” is widely believed to be an important amendment to his General Theory because, in this essay, Keynes relaxed his core assumption of decreasing marginal returns to labour. Non-decreasing marginal returns, however, do not sit comfortably with the prime innovation of the General Theory: the Principle of Effective Demand. This will be demonstrated by performing – for the first time in the literature – numerical simulations with Keynes’s Aggregate-Demand-Aggregate-Supply (D/Z) model. The view that Keynes’s 1939 essay constitutes an important amendment to his General Theory thus has to be put into perspective.
    Keywords: Keynes, effective demand, D/Z model, marginal returns to labour
    JEL: B31 E12
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Le Zhang (University of New South Wales); Andreas Ortmann (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: The literature on dictator [D] and joy-of-destruction [JoD] games demonstrates that people can be nice and nasty. We study, by way of an experiment with between-subjects and within-subjects features, to what extent behaviors are context dependent and consistent. We find that, for one-shot D and JoD games, our participants' niceness and nastiness depend on the choice set. Contradicting the observed altruism and nastiness, participants tend to be selfish but nonetheless make choices that increase social welfare when given the opportunity.
    Keywords: Dictator game, Joy-of-Destruction game, Money burning, Altruism, Nastiness, Efficiency considerations, Mach-IV test
    JEL: A13 C79 D03 D64
    Date: 2013–11
  5. By: Faridah Djellal (CLERSE - Centre lillois d'études et de recherches sociologiques et économiques - CNRS : UMR8019 - Université Lille I - Sciences et technologies); Faïz Gallouj (CLERSE - Centre lillois d'études et de recherches sociologiques et économiques - CNRS : UMR8019 - Université Lille I - Sciences et technologies)
    Abstract: Gabriel Tarde was a French sociologist and criminologist whose work is rediscovered from time to time. Economists of innovation have paid insufficient attention to an author who devoted a large part of his work to the laws of imitation and invention. The purpose of this paper is threefold. The first is to give a succinct account of these laws of imitation and invention. The second is to re-examine and extend the debates on the similarities between Schumpeter and Tarde. The third and main purpose is to examine the similarities, hitherto unexplored to the best of our knowledge, between Tarde's work and contemporary neo-Schumpteterian and evolutionary theories.
    Keywords: Tarde, Schumpeter, evolutionary theory, innovation, imitation.
    Date: 2014–03–18
  6. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: Marxian economics and standard economics are widely different yet they share a central weakness: the respective profit theories are demonstrably false – each one in its own characteristic way. Roughly speaking, Marx tried to explain profit by objective factors while standard economics cites subjective factors. For different reasons, neither route led to satisfactory results. The conclusion is straightforward: one has to do better. The conceptual consequence is to first reconstruct the profit theory from a solid basis with no regard to either Marxian or standard premises. In order to succeed, objective-structural axioms have to be taken as formal point of departure.
    Keywords: new framework of concepts; structure-centric; axiom set; profit theory; surplus value; distribution; real shares
    JEL: B59 E11 E25
    Date: 2014–03–26
  7. By: B. Douglas Bernheim; Erik Madsen
    Abstract: Though economists have made substantial progress toward formulating theories of collusion in industrial cartels that account for a variety of fact patterns, important puzzles remain. Standard models of repeated interaction formalize the observation that cartels keep participants in line through the threat of punishment, but they fail to explain two important factual observations: first, apparently deliberate cheating actually occurs; second, it frequently goes unpunished even when it is detected. We propose a theory of "equilibrium price cutting and business stealing" in cartels to bridge this gap between theory and observation.
    JEL: D43 L41
    Date: 2014–03
  8. By: OKASHA, Samir; WEYMARK, John A.; BOSSERT, Walter
    Abstract: Kin selection theorists argue that evolution in social contexts will lead organisms to behave as if maximizing their inclusive, as opposed to personal, fitness. The inclusive fitness concept allows biologists to treat organisms as akin to rational agents seeking to maximize a utility function. Here we develop this idea and place it on a firm footing by employing a standard decision-theoretic methodology. We show how the principle of inclusive fitness maximization and a related principle of quasi-inclusive fitness maximization can be derived from axioms on an individual’s ‘as if preferences’ (binary choices). Our results help integrate evolutionary theory and rational choice theory, help draw out the behavioural implications of inclusive fitness maximization, and point to a possible way in which evolution could lead organisms to implement it.
    Keywords: Hamilton’s rule, inclusive fitness, kin selection, rational choice.
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Jon X. Eguia (Department of Economics, Univ. of Bristol. and Department of Politics, New York Univ.); Aniol Llorente-Saguer (School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary, Univ. of London); Rebecca Morton (Department of Politics, NYU-NYC and NYU-Abu Dhabi.); Antonio Nicolò (School of Social Sciences, Univ. of Manchester)
    Abstract: Games with imperfect information often feature multiple equilibria, which depend on beliefs off the equilibrium path. Standard selection criteria such as passive beliefs, symmetric beliefs or wary beliefs rest on ad hoc restrictions on beliefs. We propose a new selection criterion that imposes no restrictions on beliefs: we select the action profi?le that is supported in equilibrium by the largest set of beliefs. We conduct experiments to test the predictive power of the existing and our novel selection criteria in two applications: a game of vertical multi-lateral contracting, and a game of electoral competition. We fi?nd that our selection criterion outperforms the other selection criteria.
    Keywords: imperfect information, equilibrium selection, passive beliefs, symmetric beliefs, vertical contract- ing, multiple equilibria
    JEL: H41 C72 D86 D72
    Date: 2014–03
  10. By: Budzinski, Oliver
    Abstract: This paper provides an economic analysis of the competition effects of UEFA's financial fair play regulations. It concludes that the restrictive effects of the break-even rule cannot be justified by a legitimate objective defense (according to European competition policy) because significant financial problems due to overinvestment are not inherent to European football. --
    Keywords: financial fair play,sports economics,competition economics,European competition policy,football, soccer,overinvestment,rat race
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Jean-Yves Moisseron; Frederic Teulon
    Abstract: One may think that Islam has not much to say on the Crisis of Capitalism because the corpus underpinning the Islamic thought: The Coran and the Sunnah were established long before the development of capitalism. Islamic economy would be then adapted to Pre-capitalist societies. Zakat may be useful to undeveloped society and prohibition of Riba may be convenient only with traditional economy based mainly on trade. One can stand that Islamic thought is not convenient for developed capitalism and for modern societies. The history of Islamic economics proves the contrary.
    Date: 2014–02–25
  12. By: Gianni Vaggi (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia); Sara Stefanini (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia)
    Keywords: Justice, A.Sen, A.Smith
    Date: 2014–03
  13. By: María Cubel (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Santiago Sanchez-Pages (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: Recent literature has emphasized that individuals display different depths of reasoning when playing games. In this paper, we explore gender differences in strategic sophistication and study whether these differences are endogenous. We report results from two different experiments employing the beauty contest. In the first, large study, we show that females react very strongly to incentives to the extent that gender differences disappear when a monetary prize is awarded. In the second study, we use a within subject design to analyze how depth of reasoning varies with gender priming and the gender composition of the set of players. We corroborate that females display higher levels of sophistication and even overtake males when incentives are provided and gender is primed. On the other hand, males who believe that females are better in the game display higher sophistication when playing against females.
    Keywords: Guessing game, strategic sophistication, gender, beliefs, stereotype threat
    JEL: C72 C91 D81 J16
    Date: 2014
  14. By: Dewey, Matías
    Abstract: Although illicit exchange has also been an organized, silent, and ever-present response to harsh economic crisis, only protest and social movements have captured scholars' attention. In order to fill this void, this paper analyzes the emergence of illegal markets under situations of social breakdown. I claim that an illicit market emerging under socio-economic crisis conditions might be understood as the result of a constant valuation process and the intervention of what Herbert Mead called generalized others. In the new arena of exchange, individuals are able to anticipate the reactions of others, inhibit undesirable impulses, and guide their conduct accordingly by visualizing their own line of action from a generalized standpoint. This approach to illicit markets is based on a critical reading of two other approaches: the anomie theory and the field of organized-crime studies. Both perspectives, according to the argument, operate with a model of action characterized by fixed ends and means, a priori assumptions that hinder the ability to perceive the gradual and transforming dynamics of a crisis situation. The paper also offers empirical evidence on the process of the emergence of an illicit market under a crisis situation. By referring to La Salada market, an arena of exchange which emerged during the 1990s in Argentina, I describe a process characterized by an intensification of communicative activities, the adjustment of mutual expectations, the search for definitions that legitimate expectations, and role-taking in the market. -- Illegaler Markttausch ist oft die leise, aber organisierte und stets präsente Antwort auf ökonomische Krisen. Trotzdem waren bisher nur Protest- und soziale Bewegungen als Krisenreaktionen Gegenstand soziologischer Forschung. Diese Studie soll die Lücke füllen und analysiert das Aufkommen illegaler Märkte in Zeiten sozialen Zusammenbruchs. Der Autor argumentiert, illegaler Markttausch unter den Bedingungen einer sozioökonomischen Krise könne als Ergebnis eines konstanten Bewertungsprozesses und als die Intervention der von Herbert Mead so bezeichneten generalized others verstanden werden. Die neu entstandene Marktarena versetzt Akteure in die Lage, Reaktionen anderer zu antizipieren, unerwünschte Impulse zu unterbinden und ihr Verhalten anzupassen, indem sie ihr Vorgehen von einem allgemeinen Standpunkt aus betrachten. Diese Herangehensweise an illegale Märkte beruht auf einer kritischen Lesart zweier bestehender Ansätze: der Anomietheorie und der Studien zu organisierter Kriminalität, die beide auf einem Akteurmodell mit vom Handlungsprozess losgelösten Zielen und Mitteln basieren. Solche vorweggenommenen Einschätzungen, so die Argumentation, schränken die Fähigkeit ein, graduelle und sich transformierende Dynamiken einer Krisensituation wahrzunehmen. Am Beispiel von La Salada, einer Marktarena, die während der 1990er-Jahre in Argentinien entstanden ist, beschreibt der Autor die Entstehung eines illegalen Marktes in einer Krisensituation. Er untersucht einen Prozess, der von einer Intensivierung kommunikativer Aktivitäten, von der Korrektur gegenseitiger Erwartungen und der Suche nach legitimierenden Definitionen sowie dem role-taking im Markt geprägt ist.
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Eduard Braun (Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal))
    Abstract: The principles characterizing the traditional revenue-expense approach to accounting have never been “invented.” They are an institution that is the result of social evolution, not of human design. Therefore, the efforts to defend them against the balance sheet approach endorsed by standard-setters have encountered severe difficulties. The latter is based on a coherent model of the economy, namely neoclassical economics. This paper argues that a solid basis for explaining the rationale of the traditional accounting principles can be found in behavioral economics, especially in Prospect Theory. If one combines this result with a market process view of the economy, the revenue-expense approach turns out to be congenial to the organization of the market economy.
    Keywords: Financial Accounting, Prospect Theory, Fair Value, Historical Costs
    JEL: D03 M41 M48
    Date: 2014
  16. By: Werner Erhard; Michael C. Jensen
    Abstract: The seemingly never ending scandals in the world of finance with their damaging effects on value and human welfare (that continue unabated in spite of all the various efforts to curtail the behavior that results in those scandals) argues strongly for an addition to the current paradigm of financial economics. We summarize here our new theory of integrity that reveals integrity as a purely positive phenomenon with no normative aspects whatsoever. Adding integrity as a positive phenomenon to the paradigm of financial economics provides actionable access (rather than mere explanation with no access) to the source of the behavior that has resulted in those damaging effects on value and human welfare, thereby significantly reducing that behavior. More generally we argue that this addition to the paradigm of financial economics can create significant increases in economic efficiency and productivity.
    JEL: G02
    Date: 2014–03
  17. By: Schlicht, Ekkehart
    Abstract: This note proposes a growth model that is derived from the standard Solow growth model by replacing the neoclassical production function with Kaldor’s technical progress function while maintaining a marginalist theory of factor prices in the spirit suggested by von Weizsäcker (1966, 1966b). The hybrid model so obtained accounts for balanced growth in a way that appears less arbitrary than the Solow model, especially because it directly accounts for Harrod neutral technical change, without any need for further assumptions.
    Keywords: directed technical change; directed technological change; bias in innovation; technical progress function; neoclassical production function; Harrod neutrality; Hicks neutrality; Cambridge theory of distribution; marginal productivity theory; Kaldor; Kennedy; von Weizsäcker; Solow model
    JEL: O30 O40 E12 E13 E25 B31 B59
    Date: 2014–03–17
  18. By: Mehta, Salil
    Abstract: This note explores the mathematical theory to solve modern gambler’s ruin problems. We establish a ruin framework and solve for the probability of bankruptcy. We also show how this relates to the expected time to bankruptcy and review the risk neutral probabilities associated an adjustment to asymmetrical views.
    Keywords: mathematical theory, gambler’s ruin, statistics, risk, probability, bankruptcy, finance, asymmetrical views, investments
    JEL: C1 G11
    Date: 2013–11–18
  19. By: Kaplan, Todd R; Zamir, Shmuel
    Abstract: As a selling mechanism, auctions have acquired a central position in the free market economy all over the globe. This development has deepened, broadened, and expanded the theory of auctions in new directions. This chapter is intended as a selective update of some of the developments and applications of auction theory in the two decades since Wilson (1992) wrote the previous Handbook chapter on this topic.
    Keywords: Auctions; Private-Value Auctions; Multi-Unit Auctions; All-Pay Auctions; Resale; Position Auctions; Dynamic Auctions; Spectrum Auctions; Monotone Equilibrium
    JEL: C72 D44 D82 H57
    Date: 2014–03–20
  20. By: Benedikt Fuchs; Stefan Thurner
    Abstract: Almost universally, wealth is not distributed uniformly within societies or economies. Even though wealth data have been collected in various forms for centuries, the origins for the observed wealth-disparity and social inequality are not yet fully understood. Especially the impact and connections of human behavior on wealth could so far not be inferred from data. Here we study wealth data from the virtual economy of the massive multiplayer online game (MMOG) Pardus. This data not only contains every player's wealth at every point in time, but also all actions of every player over a timespan of almost a decade. We find that wealth distributions in the virtual world are very similar to those in western countries. In particular we find an approximate exponential for low wealth and a power-law tail. The Gini index is found to be $g=0.65$, which is close to the indices of many Western countries. We find that wealth-increase rates depend on the time when players entered the game. Players that entered the game early on tend to have remarkably higher wealth-increase rates than those who joined later. Studying the players' positions within their social networks, we find that the local position in the trade network is most relevant for wealth. Wealthy people have high in- and out-degree in the trade network, relatively low nearest-neighbor degree and a low clustering coefficient. Wealthy players have many mutual friendships and are socially well respected by others, but spend more time on business than on socializing. We find that players that are not organized within social groups with at least three members are significantly poorer on average. We observe that high `political' status and high wealth go hand in hand. Wealthy players have few personal enemies, but show animosity towards players that behave as public enemies.
    Date: 2014–03
  21. By: Stark, Oded
    Abstract: We relate to others in two important ways: we care about others, and we care about how we fare in comparison to others. In some contexts, these two forms of relatedness interact. Caring about others can conveniently be labeled altruism. Caring about how we fare in comparison with others who fare better than ourselves can conveniently be labeled relative deprivation. I provide examples of domains in which the incorporation of altruism and relative deprivation can point to novel perspectives and suggest rethinking, and possibly revising, long-held views. And I show that there are domains in which consideration of relative deprivation can substitute for the prevalence of altruism, and vice versa. I conclude that this is a fascinating sphere for research on economics and social behavior.
    Keywords: Altruism, Relative deprivation, Economic and social behavior, Consumer/Household Economics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, D01, D03, D13, D31, D63, D64, F22, F24, J61, O15,
    Date: 2014–03
  22. By: Christelle Hamel; Maud Lesné; Jean-Luc Primon
    Abstract: À l'automne 2013 plusieurs faits divers ont soulevé une nouvelle fois la question du racisme en France. Ce document apporte des éléments statistiques inédits sur l'expérience du phénomène chez les immigrés et les descendants d'immigrés ainsi que parmi les personnes originaires d'un DOM. Basée sur les données de l'enquête Trajectoires et Origines, l'étude s'ouvre sur une mesure du racisme tel qu'il est perçu et rapporté par les groupes et les personnes qui le subissent. Le formulaire ne proposait aucune définition formelle du racisme, mais il laissait aux enquêtés la liberté de déclarer s'ils avaient été la cible « d'insultes, de propos ou d'attitudes ouvertement racistes en France». L'association du racisme aux origines migratoires mais aussi à plusieurs caractéristiques socio-démographiques et économiques, y est examinée. Les espaces du racisme, sa matérialisation sous la forme de discriminations au travail, ainsi que le racisme ressenti par une petite partie de la population majoritaire font également l'objet d'analyses détaillées. Les résultats montrent qu'en France le racisme loin d'être un phénomène d'exception constitue une expérience commune pour les personnes originaires d'un DOM, les immigrés et plus encore les descendants d'immigrés des migrations post-coloniales : Afrique du Nord, Afrique subsaharienne, Asie du Sud-Est. Le travail, les lieux publics, mais aussi l'école sont les espaces où le racisme se manifeste le plus.
    Date: 2014
  23. By: Daron Acemoglu; Suresh Naidu; Pascual Restrepo; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We provide evidence that democracy has a significant and robust positive effect on GDP. Our empirical strategy relies on a dichotomous measure of democracy coded from several sources to reduce measurement error and controls for country fixed effects and the rich dynamics of GDP, which otherwise confound the effect of democracy on economic growth. Our baseline results use a linear model for GDP dynamics estimated using either a standard within estimator or various different Generalized Method of Moments estimators, and show that democratizations increase GDP per capita by about 20% in the long run. These results are confirmed when we use a semiparametric propensity score matching estimator to control for GDP dynamics. We also obtain similar results using regional waves of democratizations and reversals to instrument for country democracy. Our results suggest that democracy increases future GDP by encouraging investment, increasing schooling, inducing economic reforms, improving public good provision, and reducing social unrest. We find little support for the view that democracy is a constraint on economic growth for less developed economies.
    JEL: O10 P16
    Date: 2014–03

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