Aug 18 2021

In memory of David Marsden

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Professor David Marsden, who died unexpectedly on Tuesday 10 August 2021 following complications of cancer treatment. Our deepest sympathies are with David’s wife, Professor Alice Lam, and his son, Antony Lam-Marsden.

David joined LSE as a Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Relations in 1980. He had a long and distinguished career at LSE, first in the Department of Industrial Relations where he was promoted to Professor, and subsequently in the Department of Management. As his wife Alice has said, David ‘was ultimately an LSE man and totally dedicated to his work.’  This commitment shone through in his scholarship, his teaching and generous collegiality. As David’s close colleague Jonathan Booth put it, ‘David was not only a colleague, he was a friend, mentor, and champion for junior faculty and supportive to many others – from students at all levels to professional services staff.’

David was an original and creative scholar. A talented linguist, David excelled at cross-national comparison and thought deeply about the origins and durability of institutional diversity. In his influential book, A Theory of Employment Systems: Micro-Foundations of Societal Diversity (1999, Oxford University Press), David developed a novel theory of how institutions shaped work organisation and employment relations within firms. He had wide interests in employment relations, publishing important studies on youth employment and training, performance related pay, performance management and individual employee voice. David also made significant policy contributions, authoring numerous reports and acting as an adviser to the European Commission, the International Labour Organisation, the OECD, the World Bank, and to various UK trade unions. Throughout his work, David was concerned to improve conditions for ordinary people, in the workplace and society.

Not only did David publish in all the major industrial relations journals, he also founded two journals. David was a founding editor of Industrielle Beziehungen (the German Journal of Industrial Relations), and, together with Alex Hicks, he also founded Socio-Economic Review (SER), acting as editor from 2001-2006. Establishing journals is a rare accomplishment; these thriving journals stand as a lasting tribute to David’s intellectual enthusiasm and creativity. In addition, David served as an editor of Travail et Emploi (a research journal published by the French ministry of labour), was co-editor of the International Public Management Journal between 2005 and 2011, and served as general editor of the British Journal of Industrial Relations from 2012 until his death. His support for interdisciplinary work was expressed by his long-standing relationship with the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), serving as SASE President in 2002-2003 and acting as organiser for the network on “Labour Markets, Education, and Human Resources” over several decades, where he welcomed generations of young international scholars into SASE.

David was a dedicated teacher, who enjoyed taking students on an intellectual journey. For many years he taught Comparative Employment Relations and later Comparative Human Resource Management, sharing his sophisticated understanding of cross-national diversity with students. Most recently, David taught Negotiation Analysis, a labour of love which was deeply appreciated by students. He was rightly proud of his successful leadership of this course, for which he received an LSE ‘Excellence in Education Award’ in 2018.

David was also an active citizen of the Department and LSE. Among his many roles, he served as a Member of Council 2008-2013 and Vice-Chair of the Academic Board 2010-2013. He was also Head of the Department of Industrial Relations 2001-2004, and Faculty Group Lead of ER-HR from 2015.

David was hugely appreciated by colleagues not only as a scholar, but for his kindness, warmth and generosity. He was unfailingly considerate and thoughtful, fostering a culture of mutual respect and support. He nurtured and encouraged many young scholars. It was a privilege to work with David; he will be greatly missed.

In David we have lost an inspiring scholar, colleague and friend, who will be long remembered at LSE and across the scholarly community.

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64 Responses to In memory of David Marsden

  1. Nilesh Dattani says:

    Deeply saddened to learn this news. David was a wonderful colleague in the Department of Management. He exemplified three of the best virtues of academe: intellectual honesty, collegiality and empathy. A true scholar and a gentleman – a devoted citizen of LSE who always had time for younger colleagues and for his students. He will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to his family.

  2. Dr G says:

    We will certainly miss such a talented professor as Marsden. My condolences go to Marsden’s family and colleagues at LSE.

    Raul

  3. Sarah Ashwin says:

    I’ve worked with David for over twenty years, and can’t believe that he’s gone. He was such a wonderful colleague – so kind, warm-hearted and fair-minded. I loved his intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for new ideas. David was a true scholar. He delighted in grappling with new theories, working out how they related to and developed existing literature and how they could be applied. David was always creating new connections, enriching discussions with the breadth and depth of his knowledge. He did the same for students – sometimes they would be daunted, but eventually their hard work on David’s courses would be rewarded with ‘eureka moments’ of intellectual excitement. Above all, David was a lovely person – always keen to see the good in people, always ready to look for the positive potential in difficult situations, always encouraging to students and colleagues. He is irreplaceable and we will miss him greatly. Deepest condolences to Alice and Antony.

    • Mari Yamauchi says:

      20 years ago, I met you and David at LSE and was fascinated by the study of comparative E/Rs. Since then, I have continued to study E/Rs and HRM from a comparative perspective and write papers from time to time, although I had no intention at all to be a researcher then. Since we heard the news about David’s passing away a few days ago, Japanese scholars on E/Rs are all in deep sorrow, not just those who have direct contact him, but also those who read his works. It is such a huge loss….

  4. Elke Schuessler says:

    I am very sorry to hear that David has passed so suddenly. I met him as an insecure bachelor student looking for the right master’s program in 1999, and he encouraged me to apply at LSE. I participated in his Comparative Industrial Relations and Comparative HRM classes Sarah mentions above, and still remember them fondly. We learnt about the theory of employment systems, of course, but also so much more. The fact that I actually still remember most of the contents after all these years testifies to his great ability as an intellectual and as a teacher. I remember him as a very kind and humble person, with the right dose of “British humour”, too. I enjoyed meeting David, always together with Alice and Anthony, at the SASE conferences in more recent years. I am very, very sorry for your loss, Alice and Anthony. David will be much remembered and missed.

  5. Paul Gollan says:

    I was so sorry to hear about David. When I heard about David I was simply devastated. I first meet David in 1991 when he interviewed me as part of the MSc program. He was the very first person I meet from the LSE, he even gave me my first academic position. Not only did he teach myself and my wife Sue in the early 1990s, I also had the privileged to work with David for 10 years in the Department of Industrial Relations and in its transition into Department of Management. I work with David closely on the employee relations programs and later coordinated with him on the very first employment relations summer school module. On my regular visits back to the LSE from Australia he always gave so time to catch-up and talk about the family, research, career etc. he not only know my wife well he also knew my daughter Juliet since she was born when I was teaching at the LSE and bought her into my office many times as a baby. He was such an intellectual, an academic powerhouse it was mind blowing, however he was so humble, gracious, kind. Always looking at the positive and finding a way forward. His support for colleagues especially young junior staff, professional staff and showing leadership in so many ways was very inspiring. A true LSE person that will be irreplaceable. I am so glad I meet him and worked with him. He was one of kind and will be sorely missed. Our condolences go to Alice and Antony. So so very sad. And yes a very great loss to the LSE and us all.

  6. Nick Byrne says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. David was a wonderful colleague – he was a joy to chat to in those important corridor moments at LSE, and he was someone whose opinions I valued. A real loss.

  7. Professor Raja Junankar says:

    I am shocked to hear of David’s death. I knew David while I was at Essex University and Warwick University. He was an important contributor on the labour market problems faced by young people, and his paper presented at a Conference at Warwick, was published in a book I edited called From School to Unemployment? The Labour Market of Young People (Macmillan Press, 1987). His work on youth labour markets in the OECD was a very important contribution. He was a wonderful academic colleague and inspired many young people. RIP.
    Raja Junankar

  8. Carola Frege says:

    What very sad news. I have known David since my times as a MSc student in the IR Department and later on as a wonderful colleague. I agree to all what Sarah wrote. David was not just a brilliant intellectual mind but he also approached labour economics as a wholistic social science and became one of the very few real interdisciplinary scholars in our field. He was also a true European, speaking various European languages, and building a wide academic network throughout the Continent, whether it be in Italy, France or Germany. But David was also deeply respected for his kindness, empathy and loyalty. He was the most considerate, trustful and also optimistic colleague one could wish for who always found a positive spin in situations of difficulties. Students and colleagues have lost a great teacher, researcher and above all a true “Mensch”, a wonderful human being. I will miss him greatly.

  9. Monika Weber-Fahr says:

    Not having been in touch for many years, I feel the loss and void that David is leaving behind with sadness. I met David when he collaborated with the Trier Institute for Industrial Relations where I was a PhD student at the time; he brought a constant flow of new ideas, inspiration, and a quite confidence that insights could trigger changes in the workplace, all of which was so greatly motivating for us graduate students. Just listening to him – whether during a formal talk or over coffee – tended to bring us forward miles and miles, and every minutes spent with him we considered a true privilege. Later having moved to the IRRU at Warwick Business School, I was able to further benefit from David’s inspirational leadership in the field of industrial relations due to the geographical proximity to London. I have rarely met someone who is so intellectually inspiring, so humble, and so personally committed to relationships and supporting others as David was. His work and the groups and people he helped inspire will live long!

  10. Virginia Doellgast says:

    I worked with David during my close to 10 years at LSE, and continued meeting, speaking, and writing with him in the years following. We were emailing in June, when he told me he was starting treatment for cancer. I was devastated to hear of his sudden death. David was a lovely person, thoughtful scholar, generous colleague and teacher. He knew how to advance an idea and a cause with a gentle touch – always with a smile and kind words. I will miss David. His death is such a loss. My deepest condolences to Alice and Anthony.

  11. For me, it was always enjoyable to catch up with David, since his early days at the LSE, not least to discuss his innovative interdisciplinary approaches to theory and practice. He was a fine intellectual, with a refreshingly broad set of interests, a kind, decent and generous disposition, and a good sense of humour. He died much too young. Am thinking of Alice, Antony, David’s family and many friends at this sad time.
    As well as a personal tragedy for them, it is also a significant loss for the LSE and the field of industrial relations. He will be greatly missed. (When Russell Lansbury and I were crafting the early editions of our book, “International and Comparative Employment Relations,” David gave us very helpful advice, especially with regard to Europe.)
    Sadly, from COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia

  12. I have been shocked to learn about David’s sudden death and still cannot believe it is real. I met David when I was a master student at LSE and marvelled at his brilliant intellectual mind; he always wanted to communicate to his students all the richness and depth of his knowledge, with enthusiasm and energy.
    Later on David become my PhD supervisor, and in that long journey, he has been a kind, constant and reassuring presence throughout. David has always been very keen on including PhD students in the life of our research group at the LSE; he was also committed to the European Doctoral Network project, teaching us the importance of collegiality.
    We kept working together also after my PhD, teaching and writing, until the end of June; it has been an honour for me to be treated as a colleague by someone I admired so much. His kindness, smile and energy will stay in our memory, but I will miss him greatly. My thoughts are with his family.

  13. Jerome Gautié says:

    I have known David for many years. He was such a lovely person, so bright and so modest at the same time. I am devastated by his loss. David has played a key role in connecting the French tradition of comparative work and employment studies (starting with the so-called “societal effect” school of Aix-en-Provence) with the Anglo-saxonian field. His French was fluent, his knowledge of France amazing. For all the French researchers in Industrial Relations – both economists, sociologists or political scientists (as the IR field does not exist as such in France), David will remain an outstanding reference, both as a scientist and a human being. I send my deepest condolences to his family.

  14. David’s huge contribution to the comparative study of work is there to stay, but I will deeply miss his collegiality. While I have not directly worked with him in the same institution, I had many opportunities to appreciate his qualities as a teacher in the organisation of student exchange networks, and as a scholar at a number of conferences and workshops. His inputs were always generous, insightful and delivered with an encouraging smile.

  15. Anne Phillips says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. David was always smiling, and will be very much missed

  16. Karen Shire says:

    Over the past few years I have coordinated Network G Labor Markets at SASE with David, a network he led for decades, and the second largest in SASE. I relied on his great patience, admired his inclusiveness, especially of young scholars and topics outside the mainstream (I think he never rejected an abstract proposal, arguing that everyone gives their best in making presentations), and I depended on his ability to sort hundreds of paper submissions into a coherent and stimulating set of panels each round. David informed us just days before the SASE conference this year of his unexpected need for tests and treatment and was still answering emails about chairs and schedule changes shortly before entering hospital (in fact, I am sure several mails were written from the hospital during the first days of our conference). David remains the heart and soul of Network G, and we bear a great responsibility in carrying forth the work of SASE and Network G in his spirit. I miss him dearly.

  17. Tim Newburn says:

    I served on a number of committees with David over the years, but also just knew him as a very recognisable person around LSE (as well as bumping into him running on the Thames towpath). He was a gentle and unfailingly courteous man, thoughtful and quietly spoken, hugely knowledgeable and a person of great integrity. Precisely the sort of colleague that is always a positive force in whichever institution they are found – in this case to LSE’s great benefit. A huge loss.

  18. Patrice Laroche says:

    I am deeply saddened to learn that David passed away. He was such a thoughful and kind colleague. I met him almost 20 years ago when he was working on a comparative research project for the DARES (French Ministry of Labor) using the WERS/REPONSE 2004 surveys. Since then, he was there for me, helping, supporting and always responding positively when I asked him a favor such as participating to a committee in France or writing a foreword for a book. In recent years, I had the chance to work with him especially in the framework of a scientific chair. David was someone who was very respectful and much respected in the employment relations field. He was a very intelligent and a very astute person. I haven’t known him in a class but I am sure he was an exceptional professor and he will be deeply missed by his students as he will be missed by all persons who had the chance to meet him. I will very much miss him. I send my most sincere condolences to his family.

  19. Chris Brown says:

    Really sorry to hear this – I knew David through his work on Council and as VCAB, he was a dedicated servant of the School with a strong ethical commitment, thoughtful, soft-spoken and always courteous. He’ll be much missed – sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  20. Richard Hyman says:

    This is very sad news indeed. I first met David on the conference circuit, probably some 40 years ago, and was struck by his intellectual originality. When I moved to LSE in 2000 I got to know him personally, and could appreciate his warmth, empathy and modesty. He made an immense contribution to the industrial relations (and broader social science) community, at LSE and internationally. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to Alice and Anthony.

  21. Janet Hartley says:

    A good scholar and a great citizen of the School, but above all just a lovely man. A great loss.

  22. Michael Barzelay says:

    In adding to Sarah’s apt remarks and to the obituary above I would say that David was a living embodiment of the ideal of a modern academic, as scientist, teacher, colleague, administrator, and institutional guardian. He carried out each and very one of these roles with the utmost in responsibility. In doing them, separately or in combination, he would bring good judgment and character to bear, with one result being to show how any and all of these roles should be done. With David one couldn’t separate the dancer and the dance, so to speak. We will not only miss David the dancer, but we — all of LSE — will miss the dance, too.

  23. John Kelly says:

    I was shocked to hear of David’s death at such an early age and I really feel for Alice and for their son Antony. I first met David 41 years ago when we turned out to be competitors for a Lectureship at the LSE’s Department of Industrial Relations. The happy outcome is that we were both appointed and I then worked alongside him for the next 24 years. He was a truly first rate colleague, full of warmth, kindness and positivity; a top class intellectual, whose books were genuinely innovative and pathbreaking; and a wonderful citizen and administrator, with seemingly limitless reserves of patience, persistence and creativity in seeking out solutions for tricky problems. He will be sorely missed.

  24. Paul Ryan says:

    I’m very sad to hear of David’s untimely death. We worked together in the 1980s on youth pay, training and employment in European countries, drawing on his early book on European labour markets. He was already highly knowledgeable about labour institutions and statistical sources. I owe him a debt of gratitude for that experience, and also for his great assistance with research on postwar German apprenticeship. David was lovely company, both in professional conversation and in running shoes — he could do both together, I only one at a time. My condolences to Alice and Antony over their enormous loss.

  25. Martin Loughlin says:

    So sorry to hear this terrible news. I succeeded David as VCAB and he was always available as a source of good advice and unqualified support, delivered in a quiet, reflective manner – and invariably with a twinkle in his eyes. He will be missed by so many of us across the School.

  26. Nancy DiTomaso says:

    My condolences to David’s family, colleagues, and friends. I got to know David through our mutual participation in the Society for the Advancement of Socio-economics. We both served as President at different times, and I often presented papers through Network G which David organized (most recently with Karen Shire). I always appreciated the combination of David’s friendliness and seriousness of purpose. He cared deeply about the work that he was doing and about those who wanted to join him in thinking about issues that affected the lives of others. May he rest in peace and may those who knew him be comforted with good memories.

  27. I am really sorry to hear the news. It was around 25 years ago when I first met him in Tokyo. After I obtained the degree under his supervision, I, with Prof. Miyamoto, translated his book, Theory of employment systems, into Japanese, which is well welcomed in Japan. He is one of the kindest persons I ever met. I am so proud to have a chance to work with him.

  28. Hiroshi Ono says:

    I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear this sad news. David and I met, rather infrequently at the SASE meetings, starting in the early 2000s. This year’s was virtual, so we promised to see each other and catch up in person next time. I will miss him terribly.

  29. Tony Dundon says:

    Very sad news indeed. I only met David several times, usually at conferences. He always took time to have a friendly chat. A true gentleman and scholar whose work on comparative employment and labour markets has shaped the field. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

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  31. Chiara Benassi says:

    I knew David from my time as a PhD student at the LSE. He was a positive presence in the Department: he was such an innovative, fine and prominent scholar but was very approachable and genuinely interested in other scholars’ work. He would attend the presentation of doctoral students and ask smart (tough) questions but with a smile on his face. At SASE, he seemed to be able to attend all sessions in his network and to find them all equally interesting. He also encouraged me to organise my first panel within his network while I was still a PhD student. He was so smart, gentle and supportive of young scholars – he will be much missed. I send my sincere condolences to Alice and their son.

  32. Marc Salesina says:

    David’s passing is heartbreaking. Although we only met in person on few occasions, nearly each of them is a fond memory. A brilliant mind, a kind man. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.

  33. Tim Vlandas says:

    What terribly sad news. David acted as my second supervisor towards the end of my phd at the LSE. He accepted this role despite being in a different department and already having so many other more important obligations. His comments on my drafts were always incisive and delivered in a kind and understanding way. I learned so much on both a professional and human level from our interactions and feel privileged to have known him. He was such a great inspiration and will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to his family.

  34. Salma Raheem says:

    David was my PhD supervisor. He stepped in as my supervisor into my second year as a commitment to upholding what the department/PhD programme needed to deliver, even though I had different research interests from his and my PhD had nothing to do with IR. The number of times he’s pulled me out of problems in my PhD journey and had my back, even through my personal problems at the time, were all at critical points when I really needed it. He knew when to step in and when to let me find my own path as an academic and scholar and as a mature student, but more importantly, he did it all very very gently and in very supportive way. He always had a warm smile and respected what I shared with him, even if it was just swapping stories of our kid(s). Just thinking about the number of times I have sat in his office and the many meetings I have spent ‘dumping’ my problems on him… just like others have said, he was a kind person and to me personally, someone I am very grateful for. It’s sad and difficult to realise/accept that he is no more. May his soul rest in peace. My sincere condolences to his wife and son.

  35. Mark Thomson says:

    Very sorry to learn about David’s passing. For those of us from the professional services ranks, David was a familiar presence on the governance circuit. Wise, thoughtful, measured, patient, a good listener. He will be missed.

  36. Susan Scott says:

    I feel privileged to have known and worked alongside David in the Department of Management. His quiet support and encouragement for other academics will be sorely missed. David was someone you could rely upon. His advice was unfailingly sound and conveyed a depth of reflection that inspired independent thought. When community work or service duties arose, David would stride in, standing tall. We sometimes talk about how workplaces depend upon “a few good souls” and David was one of them. I will miss his grace and the gentle warmth of his smile. My deepest condolences to David’s family.

  37. Jill Rubery says:

    I was also very sorry to learn of David’ s untimely death. I have known David for forty years ad much admired his work. There are two reasons for me why David stands out as a scholar. The first is his wide understanding of social science disciplines, ranging from sociology, comparative institutional and political analysis to industrial relations and human resource management, in addition to his foundational discipline economics. It is truly unusual to find an economist with not only this breadth of disciplinary interests but also the capacity to develop theories and empirical studies that draw on all these disciplines to create new and more integrated insights into the world of employment and work. The second reason for his work to stand out is the depth of his knowledge and interests in all things European and comparative- his work was genuinely comparative, not for him the use of country dummies or other easy means of making comparisons. I fear we are unlikely to see the like of David again among UK scholars; even forty years ago before REF it was difficult enough to find a place for economists interested in straying beyond the disciplines ever narrowing focus. With Brexit the chances of many following in David’s European comparative footsteps is further reduced, though his efforts at inspiring young talented scholars will still bear fruit for some time yet. Like others I also found David to be always supportive, friendly, open and optimistic. He was a regular attender for many years at the International Working Party on Labour Market Segmentation conferences and likewise I was a reasonably regular attendee at his SASE network; I was always impressed by his efforts to follow up and enquire in years when I did not submit an abstract, an indication of how seriously he took this role. I am glad Karen Shire is already in place to help carry on this important legacy. Many condolences to Alice and Antony on your loss. .

  38. David de Meza says:

    David always saw the best in people and would do whatever he could to make them even better. It’s what comes over in most of the tributes and it was certainly my experience.

  39. Patrick McGovern says:

    I was shocked to hear of David’s death as he always seemed so fresh and healthy and his only worries seemed to be minor running injuries. One of my favourite memories of David is of him approaching me at a conference after a paper that drew some very defensive responses. He saw I was a little down and gently suggested an original and interesting line of research that showed he understood what I was trying to do and, of course, he proposed it with that little twinkle in his eye. It typically generous of David. To my mind, he was one of the most original and accomplished scholars to emerge from the field of British industrial relations. It is a huge loss and not only for the LSE. My condolences to his wife and son.

  40. Om says:

    David was one of those of whom no one seemed to have anything bad to say, which is remarkable. I always found him unfailingly polite and decent; I never heard him criticise anyone, let alone harshly, never heard him raise his voice, never heard him attack anyone as an individual … amazing, given how tempers flare in so many meetings on so many issues. He seemed singularly focussed on finding the positive in everything – in individuals, in arguments, in papers, in presentations. He made all of us ever so slightly better, ever so slightly kinder, and ever so slightly willing to look upon a case for appointment or promotion more favourably, through the example he set.
    His kind, thoughtful presence will be much missed.

  41. Anke Hassel says:

    David was my supervisor at the Msc in Industrial Relations that I took in 1988. He was always kind and considerate. I admire his work tremendously and stimulating. His enthusiasm and seriousness was a key reason why I pursued a career in the field. It is a big loss for the field of comparative employment relations. My sincere condolences to his wife and son.

  42. Martha Zuber says:

    I had the good fortune of working closely with David Marsden during the 13 years I was Executive Director of SASE. For several decades, David organized SASE’s Network G: Labor Markets, Education, and Human Resources, and served as president of SASE in 2000. In 2015, he helped SASE host its annual conference at the London School of Economics and was its Program Director with Glenn Morgan as President. As a scholar and a colleague, David had a great deal of style and a warm personality, together with a sense of generosity and service, working hard to champion young scholars and welcome them into the SASE community.
    I got to know David on a more personal level when we took a break from a SASE annual meeting to take an architectural tour of Chicago. The tour, which took place on a boat cruise on Lake Michigan, gave David and me an opportunity for a long chat, during which I discovered that he was quite a Francophile. To my amazement, David spoke perfect French with almost no accent, a skill he had perfected thanks in part to regular research stints at LEST, a CNRS laboratory in Aix-en-Provence. Over the course of our time at SASE meetings, I also discovered that David an indefatigable runner: in Kyoto, in Berkeley, or in Lyon, most of us would just be emerging from our rooms to sit down to breakfast when David would appear, exuberant and cheerful after a long run. I learned from one of his colleagues that David actually often ran the eight miles from his home in Chiswick to his office at the LSE.
    David never missed a SASE meeting until the last one, when his illness prevented him from joining us. I will remember collaborating with him with fondness and gratitude, particularly his patience and good cheer. I was always buoyed by his presence: even with the stress of preparing for a large meeting, he always had a twinkle in his eye and a courtly manner – a man I can only describe as a perfect gentlemen, in the very best sense of that term.
    David Marsden was loved by us for his commitment to his students and his passion for his work, and he will be sorely missed by the community of friends and colleagues he left behind. On behalf of our organization I would like to extend our condolences to Alice Lam, his wife and intellectual partner, and to his son, Antony Lam-Marsden, about whom he often spoke with love and pride. Our thoughts and our hearts are with you.

  43. Uwe Jirjahn says:

    That is so sad. David was a phantastic colleague and such a sympathetic and friendly person. My sincere condolences.

  44. Peter Prowse says:

    This is sad news. David taught myself and a range of part-time MSc Industrial Relations and Personnel Management students as practitioners in 1984-86 who were always providing excellent in-depth analysis of economic issues in the EU and was so generous with his time. David encouraged everyone to join in the debates and seminars. He also encouraged part-time and full-time students to join in debates on special Monday evening seminars. His research scholarship and teaching was always excellent and LSE were fortunate to have such a great scholar. My condolences to his wife Alice and his son Anthony.

  45. Jackie Coyle-Shapiro says:

    This is heart breaking and shocking news that doesn’t seem real. David’s sudden passing will cast a long shadow into the future. He embodied LSE values and was an exemplary citizen of the school. Such a significant loss to the school and he will be sorely missed in the Department. What a wonderful person he was with a intellectual curiosity that spanned disciplinary boundaries. My deepest condolences to Alice and Antony.

  46. Jeff Thomas says:

    David was a supportive and insightful mentor to new faculty members and colleagues. Condolences to an inspiring, insightful, and kind colleague, it was an honor to work with David.

  47. As I got to know David, I discovered we had quite a bit in common, not just intellectually, but personally. Our spouses were both from the same country, a country for which we shared a great fondness. I am forever grateful for his encouragement in learning the language. David was an inspiring and kind colleague, but above all though, he was an inspiring and kind person. He will be missed by many.

  48. Katie Bailey says:

    So very sad to hear this news and my sincere condolences to Alice and Anthony. David shone in our field because he was a kind, modest man who treated everyone the same and genuinely wanted to help other scholars with their research. I was greatly influenced by his comparative European studies many years ago when I was a PhD student, and I was privileged to meet David on a number of occasions. David’s scholarship and his leadership of so many important initiatives leave a lasting legacy.

  49. Wei Huang says:

    I felt a deep sadness about the loss of David, my MSc mentor (2003-2004), the referee for my PhD programme and the external examiner of my PhD thesis viva (2009). I had e-mails with David in the last few months about producing a Chinese version of his classic, A Theory of Employment Systems. The last e-mail sent by him was four days before his death. I cannot imagine what he was suffering at the time.

    I shared this sad news among the Chinese alumni of LSE IR Department. Some of them were supervised by David to write the dissertation. We are very much in shock.

  50. Amanda Shantz says:

    I was David’s student over 15 years ago. I remember his kindness and empathy. I remember his deep commitment to my learning and development. I learned from him what it means to be a great mentor. I am deeply saddened to hear of his unexpected passing. My sincere condolences to his friends and family. My hope is that you appreciate that people who you may not know (like me) remember David with great affection. He certainly made a huge impact on me.

  51. I had the pleasure of being David’s colleague at LSE for eight years. For a young lecturer like myself, being around him was always a source of positive energy. He invariably listened, smiled, and responded with a thoughtful question. Most importantly, David banished hierarchy or disciplinary barriers from his academic interactions with me and others, and simply let ideas speak for themselves. He and I also co-supervised a Ph.D. student for some time, and I learned from him the art of the gentle nudge. I feel lucky to have known him, am very sad to hear he has passed away. My thoughts are with Alice and Antony.

  52. Emma Soane says:

    David’s passing is a great loss to our community at LSE and to those interested in intellectual endeavours. David’s scholarship, combined with his deep understanding of other people, created a powerful influence that extended well beyond his immediate areas of research. He was a careful mentor as well as a wonderful colleague. My thoughts are with David’s family. I hope that you find some solace in reading these tributes to his life and his legacy.

  53. Charlotte Forsyth says:

    Devastated to hear of Professor Marsden’s passing – his classes were always such a joy and so intellectually stimulating. You could just tell that his intellect was matched by kindness and empathy for his students. My deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.

  54. Philippe Mossé says:

    Pour David Marsden, avec toutes mes condoléances à Alice et Antony
    Chercheur au Lest depuis le début des années 1980, je connaissais David depuis des décennies. Lors de nos premières rencontres, il m’avait impressionné par l’ampleur et la diversité de sa collection de K7 musicale et par sa capacité à se lever vers 6h du mat pour, par tous les temps et seulement équipé d’une bonne paire de chaussures, partir à l’assaut de la Sainte Victoire.
    D’autres collègues et amis seront plus légitimes que moi pour évoquer l’ampleur des apports de David aux Sciences Sociales et aux recherches en Relations Industrielles. Mais laissez-moi évoquer un souvenir personnel. En 2016, j’avais demandé à David Marsden de faire partie du jury d’une Thèse que je dirigeais de jure. Sans hésiter, il avait même accepté d’en être, avec Jérôme Gautié, le Rapporteur.
    Avec Stéphanie Moullet qui dirigeait la thèse de facto nous avions surnommé David « le Colonel Bramble » à cause de ses silences face à nos e-mails. Mais son rapport de thèse, arrivé comme il se doit just in time, était ciselé ; un modèle d’understatement British. Il avait fait en sorte que ses immenses et solides connaissances scientifiques soient mises au service de l’intelligence de la situation. Et, sans surprise, ses interventions lors de la soutenance se sont avérées justes et décisives.
    Ce que je lui avais écrit alors, je ne savais pas qu’aujourd’hui je l’écrirais à nouveau comme en épitaphe :
    « David … merci d’avoir été à la fois efficace, sincère et bienveillant ».
    Bienveillant, car, à l’instar du Colonel Bramble, si tout ce que David avait dit ce jour-là était pertinent, ce qu’il n’avait pas dit l’était tout autant.
    Rien n’est plus opportun, rien n’est plus décent que le Silence.

    Philippe Mossé,
    LEST, Aix-en-Provence

  55. Damian Grimshaw says:

    I am very sad to hear this news and I send my heartfelt wishes to Alice and their son. It was not so many months ago when we last saw David on the Thames river path, jogging past us with a friendly wave and how do you do. His work has been so important for institutionalist scholars. His early book, ‘The End of Economic Man’, was foundational in arguing for an institutionalist view of real-world labour markets, with radical arguments that undermined much of the neoclassical tradition. I also learned a great deal from his detailed and historically informed comparative analyses, and admired his commitment to policy appraisal, including work for the ILO and the scrutiny of performance-related pay experiments for school teachers in the UK, among many others. I hope that some form of scholarship or Chair position in his name might be established to support future comparative interdisciplinary research.

  56. Eric Verdier says:

    It is with infinite sadness that I learned of the death of David, whom I had known for more than a quarter of a century. With unwavering generosity and modesty, David has never ceased to build links between research carried out on both sides of the Channel on industrial relations and employment systems. I add to this message the text (in French) of the tribute that I read on September 2 during the seminar celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Laboratoire d’économie et de sociologie du travail – LEST -, Aix-Marseille University, where David had defended his doctoral thesis:
    “David Marsden, un chercheur comparatiste aux multiples engagements”
    Bien évidemment, prétendre présenter la richesse des multiples travaux de David Marsden en quelques minutes aurait quelque chose d’indécent. C’est la raison pour laquelle il ne sera question ici que d’évoquer la démarche générale qui, à mon sens, sur le long cours, a été celle de David, en tant qu’économiste du travail et spécialiste, internationalement reconnu, des relations professionnelles.
    Avant de faire part de ce point de vue personnel, il me semble indispensable, ici au Lest, d’évoquer une autre facette de la longue et belle carrière de David, à savoir le sens du collectif. Je serai même tenté de parler d’un dévouement constant aux institutions publiques qui s’est déployé à différentes échelles. Il suffit d’aller quelques instants sur le site de la London School pour mesurer à quel point il ne comptait pas ses efforts et son temps pour promouvoir ses étudiants au travers d’un enseignement et d’un encadrement motivant, exigeant et bienveillant pour chacun et chacune. Je soulignerai le nombre impressionnant de comités ou groupes de travail de divers ordres auxquels il a apporté son concours, que ce soit, bien sûr dans son pays, le Royaume-Uni, mais aussi au Bureau international du travail, à l’OCDE, à la Banque Mondiale et, bien évidemment, à la Commission européenne, lui qui était un fervent européen s’exprimant avec aisance dans quatre langues de l’Union. Nul carriérisme dans cet engagement institutionnel pourtant très prenant : en témoigne, de mon point de vue, le fait qu’il ait œuvré de longues années dans les comités de rédaction des revues Formation Emploi puis Travail et Emploi.
    On pourrait d’ailleurs ajouter que la communauté académique et les institutions françaises ont bien su « l’exploiter », lui le British au français impeccable, à la professionnalité irréprochable servie par une douceur qui n’entravait pas la fermeté des convictions et des points de vue. Nombre de jurys de thèse de ce côté-ci de la Manche en ont d’ailleurs bénéficié. Mais c’est bien de lui-même qu’est venue la proposition d’organiser le colloque annuel de SASE à Aix en 2003, en lien étroit avec le Lest ! C’était pour David une évidence que de prononcer son discours de président de cette association académique au sein de la Faculté d’économie dans laquelle il avait soutenu sa thèse une vingtaine d’années auparavant. Soutien d’exception au laboratoire où il a été doctorat et expression d’une fidélité sans pareille à son directeur de thèse, François Sellier, décédé quelques années auparavant.
    En relisant quelques publications anciennes et en en parcourant de plus récentes, une constante dans la démarche d’analyse de David m’a frappé d’autant plus que c’est, pour partie au moins, un trait partagé avec François Sellier : il s’agit pour lui d’élaborer des approches qui soient en mesure d’appréhender la diversité croissante des relations d’emploi, en particulier des relations salariales. Leur mise en œuvre repose sur un premier principe très général : rendre compte des conditions organisationnelles et institutionnelles qui président à l’instauration d’une collaboration, durable a minima, pour le bénéfice des deux parties prenantes du contrat de travail, le pendant étant une mobilité professionnelle, choisie ou subie.
    D’où, comme chez François Sellier, une analyse approfondie des instruments qui soutiennent, avec des efficacités très variables, l’engagement dans le travail et la coopération dans l’exercice des tâches, la négociation, individuelle ou collective à différents niveaux, étant, évidemment, un processus crucial en la matière.
    Plus précisément, cette démarche est suspendue au respect de trois conditions :
    – S’échapper de la monodisciplinarité, ce à quoi prédisposait sans doute, l’inscription de David comme de François Sellier, dans le champ des relations professionnelles, thématique carrefour, comme on le sait, pour l’économie, la sociologie, la gestion, l’histoire etc.
    – S’approprier les apports des travaux d’auteurs aux fondements paradigmatiques différents des siens, notamment ceux d’économistes plus ou moins main stream. Nul oukase a priori vis-à-vis de ces travaux dès lors qu’ils s’efforcent de rendre compte, de manière originale et informée, des ressorts des accords ou conflits entre employeurs et salariés, d’où l’intérêt de discuter les recherches d’auteurs tels que Lazear, Akerlof, Coase etc. Bien évidemment, cette appropriation se devait d’être critique, ce qui s’exprimait très clairement, dès 1988, dans le titre du livre tiré de la thèse de David « Marchés du travail : les limites sociales des nouvelles théories ». Un esprit de dialogue qui, à dessein, met à distance tout « autoritarisme normatif » pour reprendre les mots de Mickaël Piore à l’occasion des 40 ans du Lest ;
    – Adopter une démarche résolument comparative, ce qui signifie qu’elle ne saurait se limiter – si je puis dire – à la comparaison internationale mais doit intégrer des comparaisons entre branches et entre firmes appartenant à un même espace productif. En quelque sorte, il s’agit de ne pas hypertrophier l’effet sociétal vis-à-vis de l’effet sectoriel ou professionnel ou encore de l’effet d’entreprise. De ce point de vue, l’article publié en 2018 avec Virginia Doellgast, dans le Human Resource Management Journal et intitulé Institutions as constraints and resources: explaining cross-national divergence in performance management (dans le secteur des télécommunications) me paraît tout à fait emblématique.
    Ainsi, depuis son livre-maître A theory of employment systems : micro-foundations of societal diversity datant de 1999, David s’est efforcé non seulement de rendre compte de l’hétérogénéité croissante des systèmes d’emploi mais aussi d’en éclairer les évolutions à venir. Dans cette perspective, dans la lignée de Mickaël Piore, c’est en proposant des typologies de marché du travail de plus en plus raffinées, que David a cherché à faire avancer les connaissances sur les changements qui remodèlent les relations salariales. A cet égard, et pour finir, je citerai le chapitre que David a co-signé en 2017 avec sa femme, Alice Lam, pour le Skills and Training Handbook (OUP), intitulé Employment systems, skills and knowledge montrant notamment comment, dès aujourd’hui et plus encore dans l’avenir, des marchés internes de firmes ou d’entités différentes peuvent être amenés à interagir ou même à s’interpénétrer, sous l’empire d’organisations portées par des projets communs, notamment dans la perspective de l’innovation. Il est symptomatique que ce long texte se conclue par un paragraphe intitulé Societal dimension qui met en avant l’influence des spécificités nationales des systèmes d’éducation. »

  57. Eric Verdier for the LEST team says:

    David Marsden, un chercheur comparatiste aux multiples engagements

    Bien évidemment, prétendre présenter la richesse des multiples travaux de David Marsden en quelques minutes aurait quelque chose d’indécent. C’est la raison pour laquelle il ne sera question ici que d’évoquer la démarche générale qui, à mon sens, sur le long cours, a été celle de David, en tant qu’économiste du travail et spécialiste, internationalement reconnu, des relations professionnelles.

    Avant de faire part de ce point de vue personnel, il me semble indispensable, ici au Lest, d’évoquer une autre facette de la longue et belle carrière de David, à savoir le sens du collectif. Je serai même tenté de parler d’un dévouement constant aux institutions publiques qui s’est déployé à différentes échelles. Il suffit d’aller quelques instants sur le site de la London School pour mesurer à quel point il ne comptait pas ses efforts et son temps pour promouvoir ses étudiants au travers d’un enseignement et d’un encadrement motivant, exigeant et bienveillant pour chacun et chacune. Je soulignerai le nombre impressionnant de comités ou groupes de travail de divers ordres auxquels il a apporté son concours, que ce soit, bien sûr dans son pays, le Royaume-Uni, mais aussi au Bureau international du travail, à l’OCDE, à la Banque Mondiale et, bien évidemment, à la Commission européenne, lui qui était un fervent européen s’exprimant avec aisance dans quatre langues de l’Union. Nul carriérisme dans cet engagement institutionnel pourtant très prenant : en témoigne, de mon point de vue, le fait qu’il ait œuvré de longues années dans les comités de rédaction des revues Formation Emploi puis Travail et Emploi.
    On pourrait d’ailleurs ajouter que la communauté académique et les institutions françaises ont bien su « l’exploiter », lui le British au français impeccable, à la professionnalité irréprochable servie par une douceur qui n’entravait pas la fermeté des convictions et des points de vue. Nombre de jurys de thèse de ce côté-ci de la Manche en ont d’ailleurs bénéficié. Mais c’est bien de lui-même qu’est venue la proposition d’organiser le colloque annuel de SASE à Aix en 2003, en lien étroit avec le Lest ! C’était pour David une évidence que de prononcer son discours de président de cette association académique au sein de la Faculté d’économie dans laquelle il avait soutenu sa thèse une vingtaine d’années auparavant. Soutien d’exception au laboratoire où il a été doctorat et expression d’une fidélité sans pareille à son directeur de thèse, François Sellier, décédé quelques années auparavant.

    En relisant quelques publications anciennes et en en parcourant de plus récentes, une constante dans la démarche d’analyse de David m’a frappé d’autant plus que c’est, pour partie au moins, un trait partagé avec François Sellier : il s’agit pour lui d’élaborer des approches qui soient en mesure d’appréhender la diversité croissante des relations d’emploi, en particulier des relations salariales. Leur mise en œuvre repose sur un premier principe très général : rendre compte des conditions organisationnelles et institutionnelles qui président à l’instauration d’une collaboration, durable a minima, pour le bénéfice des deux parties prenantes du contrat de travail, le pendant étant une mobilité professionnelle, choisie ou subie.
    D’où, comme chez François Sellier, une analyse approfondie des instruments qui soutiennent, avec des efficacités très variables, l’engagement dans le travail et la coopération dans l’exercice des tâches, la négociation, individuelle ou collective à différents niveaux, étant, évidemment, un processus crucial en la matière.
    Plus précisément, cette démarche est suspendue au respect de trois conditions :
    – S’échapper de la monodisciplinarité, ce à quoi prédisposait sans doute, l’inscription de David comme de François Sellier, dans le champ des relations professionnelles, thématique carrefour, comme on le sait, pour l’économie, la sociologie, la gestion, l’histoire etc.
    – S’approprier les apports des travaux d’auteurs aux fondements paradigmatiques différents des siens, notamment ceux d’économistes plus ou moins main stream. Nul oukase a priori vis-à-vis de ces travaux dès lors qu’ils s’efforcent de rendre compte, de manière originale et informée, des ressorts des accords ou conflits entre employeurs et salariés, d’où l’intérêt de discuter les recherches d’auteurs tels que Lazear, Akerlof, Coase etc. Bien évidemment, cette appropriation se devait d’être critique, ce qui s’exprimait très clairement, dès 1988, dans le titre du livre tiré de la thèse de David « Marchés du travail : les limites sociales des nouvelles théories ». Un esprit de dialogue qui, à dessein, met à distance tout « autoritarisme normatif » pour reprendre les mots de Mickaël Piore à l’occasion des 40 ans du Lest ;
    – Adopter une démarche résolument comparative, ce qui signifie qu’elle ne saurait se limiter – si je puis dire – à la comparaison internationale mais doit intégrer des comparaisons entre branches et entre firmes appartenant à un même espace productif. En quelque sorte, il s’agit de ne pas hypertrophier l’effet sociétal vis-à-vis de l’effet sectoriel ou professionnel ou encore de l’effet d’entreprise. De ce point de vue, l’article publié en 2018 avec Virginia Doellgast, dans le Human Resource Management Journal et intitulé Institutions as constraints and resources: explaining cross-national divergence in performance management (dans le secteur des télécommunications) me paraît tout à fait emblématique.

    Ainsi, depuis son livre-maître A theory of employment systems : micro-foundations of societal diversity datant de 1999, David s’est efforcé non seulement de rendre compte de l’hétérogénéité croissante des systèmes d’emploi mais aussi d’en éclairer les évolutions à venir. Dans cette perspective, dans la lignée de Mickaël Piore, c’est en proposant des typologies de marché du travail de plus en plus raffinées, que David a cherché à faire avancer les connaissances sur les changements qui remodèlent les relations salariales. A cet égard, et pour finir, je citerai le chapitre que David a co-signé en 2017 avec sa femme, Alice Lam, pour le Skills and Training Handbook (OUP), intitulé Employment systems, skills and knowledge montrant notamment comment, dès aujourd’hui et plus encore dans l’avenir, des marchés internes de firmes ou d’entités différentes peuvent être amenés à interagir ou même à s’interpénétrer, sous l’empire d’organisations portées par des projets communs, notamment dans la perspective de l’innovation. Il est symptomatique que ce long texte se conclue par un paragraphe intitulé Societal dimension qui met en avant l’influence des spécificités nationales des systèmes d’éducation.

    Eric Verdier, le 31 août 2021

    This paper was read by Prof. Eric Verdier as well as Prof. Philippe Mossé’s earlier tribute (both former directors of the LEST Laboratoire d’Économie et de Sociologie du Travail) during the LEST’s 50 birthday meeting on Sept. 2 2021.

  58. Zafar Shaheed says:

    My goodness, what wonderful expressions of admiration, respect and indeed love for dear David. I started reading all these contributions with sadness, naturally, but end with a feeling of some comfort, knowing that so many have experienced and appreciated this remarkable human being. My interactions with David go back to the early 1980s, when at the ILO we were looking for a Francophone economist for our tiny Wages Section of the Industrial Relations Department. Goes to show you how good we considered David’s French, to say nothing of his expertise in the areas of pay and industrial relations. I had the honour of trying to convince him to join us. Very politely, very kindly, David said that while it was an honour to be so considered by an organization he held in high esteem, he was very happy at the LSE and the freedom it afforded him. One might be tempted to say the ILO’s loss was the LSE’s gain. That would be wrong. From his solid base at the LSE, David continued to work with the ILO and other institutions, enriching all with whom he engaged. Always in that respectful caring way, quite unique in a person of such brilliant accomplishment. Bless you, dear David, and sincere condolences to your wife and your son.

  59. Zafar Shaheed says:

    What a loss – yet what fine expressions of admiration, respect and love. I was naturally sad as I began to read these comments, then finally ended feeling some comfort. To note that so many experienced and recognized David for the exceptional gentleman and scholar that he was/is…
    I first met him in the early 1980s. At the Wages Section of the Industrial Relations Department of the ILO, we were looking for a Francophone economist. Yes, his French was clearly so good that David could fit that position. It was my honour to seek his interest in this position. Very politely, most kindly, he explained how happy he was with the scope and freedom he enjoyed at the LSE, as opposed to becoming an international civil servant. One might then be tempted to say that the LSE’s gain was the ILO’s loss…that would be quite wrong. From his solid base at the LSE, David continued to contribute to the work of other organizations, thereby further strengthening the LSE and these organizations.
    Thank you, cher ami et collegue, for your intellectual achievements, and even more for your plain goodness, for your smile and that twinkle in your eye. May your family and friends have the strength to bear this loss.

  60. Philippe Mossé says:

    Chercheur au Lest depuis le début des années 1980, je connaissais David depuis des décennies. Lors de nos premières rencontres, il m’avait impressionné par l’ampleur et la diversité de sa collection de K7 musicale et par sa capacité à se lever vers 6h du mat pour, par tous les temps et seulement équipé d’une bonne paire de chaussures, partir à l’assaut de la Sainte Victoire.
    Mais laissez-moi évoquer un souvenir personnel. En 2016, j’avais demandé à David Marsden de faire partie du jury d’une Thèse que je dirigeais de jure. Sans hésiter, il avait même accepté d’en être le Rapporteur.
    Avec Stéphanie Moullet qui dirigeait la thèse de facto nous avions surnommé David « le Colonel Bramble » à cause de ses silences face à nos e-mails. Mais son rapport de thèse, arrivé comme il se doit just in time, était ciselé ; un modèle d’understatement British. Il avait fait en sorte que ses immenses et solides connaissances scientifiques soient mises au service de l’intelligence de la situation. Et, sans surprise, ses interventions lors de la soutenance se sont avérées justes et décisives.
    Ce que je lui avais écrit alors, je ne savais pas qu’aujourd’hui je l’écrirais à nouveau comme en épitaphe :
    « David … merci d’avoir été à la fois efficace, sincère et bienveillant ».
    Bienveillant, car, à l’instar du Colonel Bramble, si tout ce que David avait dit ce jour-là était pertinent, ce qu’il n’avait pas dit l’était tout autant.
    Rien n’est plus opportun, rien n’est plus décent que le Silence.

  61. Marc Thompson says:

    I was deeply shocked to hear of David’s passing. He taught me at the LSE in the late 1980s and then offered me my first academic job as a research assistant on an ESRC-CNRS collaborative project with colleagues at LEST on flexibility in the UK and France. He was wonderful to work with, always challenging ideas, committed to deeper analysis and in the bacground quietly building his theroetical model of employment systems. I will always remember these wonderful times and our long conversations. He was humble, a real gentleman and a true european, open to diverse views, always looking to build upon contributions and intent on the flourishing of others. He was incredibly kind and put me up for a few weeks in his house in Lewes when I moved to another job. He encapsulated so much of what it means to be a scholar, colleague and friend. He will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with Alice and Anthony.

  62. Alan Manning says:

    Shocked and saddened to hear about David’s passing. I always enjoyed talking to David about labour markets; he managed to combine and awareness of the importance of institutions and history (with deep knowledge of both) without losing sight of underlying economic factors. And he was always so measured open-minded and mild-mannered in an area where many have very strong views, trenchantly expressed.

  63. Sharon Singh Sidhu says:

    I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn about Professor Marsden’s passing just now… I will forever remember with gratitude the kindness of Professor Marsden for helping me get through a particularly difficult time during my master’s program at LSE. The one time he brought young Antony into class is a story I now tell my teenage kids – how cool this Professor was and how I was so impressed with the very mature conversation Professor Marsden was having with young Antony as if he was another student in our class! I think Antony must have been about 8 or 9? Besides being such a clearly accomplished Professor, I remember Professor Marsden as a kind, generous, humorous and patient man. My deepest condolences to Professor’s Marsden’s wife, Alice and son, Antony.

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