What do crime and abortion have in common?

koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

When crime rates were soaring in the 80s experts predicted horrifying statistics for the near future. Crime became a high priority problem and fear was high. They were wrong. All of them. Suddenly crime rates dropped nearly in half and we were left scrambling for some heroic reason to credit ourselves.

Acclaimed economist Steven Levitt, the one to ask when you need a complex question answered, decided to find out why. His conclusion?

The legalization of abortion.

The type of people most likely to turn to crime were no longer being born. The timing of the court decision and the drop in crime rates coincided to when all the babies never born would have reached the statistical age.

Levitt himself does not consider this statistic to have any relevance to the debate on morality of abortion. His findings are extremely unpopular but, nevertheless, accurate.

for more detail see Freakonomics
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Accountable
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

I remember this game! We haven't played this in a long time.



In this game, Koan Lays out a horrifying premise without stating her own opinion about it. Then, inferring of course that she must support it since she posted it, we all jump on Koan. Then Koan says something to the effect of "don't blame me, I just found it interesting. I never said my opinion one way or the other." Then she doesn't.



Koan, I don't want to play that game. I want to know what you think about the article.
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Accountable
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

SnoozeControl wrote: Its an interesting premise, but statistics can be skewered.:wah: I like that. You should put that on your sig.
PurpleChicken
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by PurpleChicken »

Ever hear about Sharks and Icecream?



If you look at the statistics, shark attacks tend to occur on the same days as really high ice cream sales. Does that mean that shark attacks increase ice cream sales? Perhaps if you reduce ice cream sales, there will be less shark attacks?



Correlation does not imply causation.



Statistics don't lie, but there can be a lot in the interpretation.



(Sorry, my hubby tells the analogy much better, but I'm sure you get the picture!)
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Accountable
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

Hiroshima had zero crime immediately following our bomb. :thinking:
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SOJOURNER
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by SOJOURNER »

And then the crime rate climbs again...............

and abortion is still legal.......

where is the rationalization then??????? :thinking:
Benjamin
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Benjamin »

The crime rate has an inverse relationship with the availability of jobs. Put people to work and they stop committing crimes. It’s got nothing to do with abortion being legal.
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Accountable
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

Benjamin wrote: The crime rate has an inverse relationship with the availability of jobs. Put people to work and they stop committing crimes. It’s got nothing to do with abortion being legal.
:wah: That's a nice thought.



If it were true, the only criminals around would be illegal aliens. .... unless of course by "put people to work" you're talking about forcing people to work.
koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

Accountable wrote: I remember this game! We haven't played this in a long time.



In this game, Koan Lays out a horrifying premise without stating her own opinion about it. Then, inferring of course that she must support it since she posted it, we all jump on Koan. Then Koan says something to the effect of "don't blame me, I just found it interesting. I never said my opinion one way or the other." Then she doesn't.



Koan, I don't want to play that game. I want to know what you think about the article.


First, I am not playing games. Personally, I find it annoying when people start threads that say "check this out" followed by a link and nothing else. Here I offer a blurb summarizing the issue as best as I can then post a link for further reading. I agree with Levitt that the findings have no bearing upon the abortion debate and it does not change my mind from my original point of view. I like to leave my personal point of view out of the thread for at least a few posts to avoid being called 'sanctimonious' for trying to push my views on others. I think I can say 'in fact' there is no posting style that I have tried that goes without attack. It is not how I post but what I post that causes anger. I like examining things that others don't like to think about and often have an unpopular point of view.

Further, I did not come across this article online, I read the whole "freaking" book. It really is rather freaky how economists view the world. So impartial.

I am pro choice but that is neither here nor there. As Levitt explains:

"The numbers we're talking about, in terms of crime, are absolutely trivial when you compare it to the broader debate on abortion. From a pro-life view of the world: If abortion is murder then we have a million murders a year through abortion. And the few thousand homicides that will be prevented according to our analysis are just nothing—they are a pebble in the ocean relative to the tragedy that is abortion. So, my own view, when we [did] the study and it hasn't changed is that: our study shouldn't change anybody's opinion about whether abortion should be legal and easily available or not. It's really a study about crime, not abortion."

My opinion on the study is that I believe the corelation is valid. The reason I put it under abortion here is because I was unsure which crime category was suitable.

BTW, PurpleChicken, accusing a highly respected economist of not knowing how to analyse numbers would be rather courageous. You might see faces turn many shades of red and purple. Interesting experiment.
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Accountable
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

koan wrote: First, I am not playing games. Personally, I find it annoying when people start threads that say "check this out" followed by a link and nothing else. Here I offer a blurb summarizing the issue as best as I can then post a link for further reading. I agree with Levitt that the findings have no bearing upon the abortion debate and it does not change my mind from my original point of view. I like to leave my personal point of view out of the thread for at least a few posts to avoid being called 'sanctimonious' for trying to push my views on others. I think I can say 'in fact' there is no posting style that I have tried that goes without attack. It is not how I post but what I post that causes anger. I like examining things that others don't like to think about and often have an unpopular point of view.


I'll keep that in mind in the future. It irritates me when people post stuff without an opening "introduction" if you will. Now that I have a rationale, I'll try to be more patient.



TBH I don't see the value in the correlation, other than the obvious profit-based one. No one is likely to use it as a "see I told you so" resource, nor is it likely to change anyone's mind. It didn't changes yours or mine.



In case you missed my opinion. I am pro-choice. I am also pro-responsibility. The fetus should be considered a citizen, with all the protections of citizenry.
koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

Levitt makes a living out of asking "why?". I think that is very cool.

Sometimes finding out why is helpful even if it doesn't provide a solution.

My opinion on the next question to ask, which might have greater use, is whether or not poverty has a significant connection to both factors. If it does, perhaps we could deduce that eliminating poverty would drastically reduce both abortion rates and crime. I can't recall at the moment what numbers are floating around on that question.
koan
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Post by koan »

hehehe.

I suddenly had a mad urge to try something...

check this out!
Benjamin
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Benjamin »

koan wrote: When crime rates were soaring in the 80s experts predicted horrifying statistics for the near future. Crime became a high priority problem and fear was high. They were wrong. All of them. Suddenly crime rates dropped nearly in half and we were left scrambling for some heroic reason to credit ourselves.


I was thinking about this during a meeting. :wah:

In the early 80s (during the Reagan administration), the crime rate went down, due to the rebound in the economy. Since it was a weak, debt-based economy, the rebound didn’t last long and as the economy started to falter again in the mid-80s, the crime rate skyrocketed. The crime rate continued to soar until the early 90s when the economy started to rebound. As we entered the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history (during the Clinton administration), the crime rate reversed its trend and steadily decreased, in some categories to the lowest levels in 30 years. Around 2000 the economy started to slow, as did the decrease in crime. The crime rate has been relatively flat during the Bush administration, as a reflection of a flat economy.

See: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report, Index of Crime.
Benjamin
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Benjamin »

koan wrote: Levitt makes a living out of asking "why?". I think that is very cool.

Sometimes finding out why is helpful even if it doesn't provide a solution.

My opinion on the next question to ask, which might have greater use, is whether or not poverty has a significant connection to both factors. If it does, perhaps we could deduce that eliminating poverty would drastically reduce both abortion rates and crime. I can't recall at the moment what numbers are floating around on that question.
That's probably true. People in poverty generally have a lot of free time on their hands and probably engage in sex more than if they were working. During economic boom of the 90s, the number of abortions went down.
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Post by Accountable »

koan wrote: Levitt makes a living out of asking "why?". I think that is very cool.



Sometimes finding out why is helpful even if it doesn't provide a solution.



My opinion on the next question to ask, which might have greater use, is whether or not poverty has a significant connection to both factors. If it does, perhaps we could deduce that eliminating poverty would drastically reduce both abortion rates and crime. I can't recall at the moment what numbers are floating around on that question.
Poverty is a symptom of a deeper problem, imo. We throw tons of money at poor people already. It doesn't do any good.
koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

Benjamin wrote: I was thinking about this during a meeting. :wah:

In the early 80s (during the Reagan administration), the crime rate went down, due to the rebound in the economy. Since it was a weak, debt-based economy, the rebound didn’t last long and as the economy started to falter again in the mid-80s, the crime rate skyrocketed. The crime rate continued to soar until the early 90s when the economy started to rebound. As we entered the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history (during the Clinton administration), the crime rate reversed its trend and steadily decreased, in some categories to the lowest levels in 30 years. Around 2000 the economy started to slow, as did the decrease in crime. The crime rate has been relatively flat during the Bush administration, as a reflection of a flat economy.

See: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report, Index of Crime.


Levitt considers the most cited causes (in order of citation)

1. Innovative policing strategies

2. Increased reliance on prisons

3. Changes in crack and other drug markets

4. Aging of the population

5. Tougher gun control laws

6. Strong economy

7. Increased number of police

8. All other explanations (increased use of capital punishment, concealed weapons laws, gun buybacks, and others)

Three of these theories have some relevance. Strong economy was not one of the three.

Highest levels of influence on crime rates came from 7. increasing the number of police to patrol, making them more visible (10% of crime drop) 2. increased jail sentencing (33%)and 3. the crash of the crack market (15%)

Legalizing abortion is attributed with the remaining 42% of crime reduction.

I could get into the explanation for each finding but that's a lot of writing and kind of excessive.
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Post by Benjamin »

Levitt's integrity and credibilty are questionable. This is from Wikipedia:

In November 2005, two Federal Reserve Bank of Boston economists published a working paper which showed that the abortion work's conclusions resulted from programing errors. In another mistake, these two economists also found that Levitt had used the number of arrests, not the arrest rate, to determine the murder rate. Levitt responded with some revisions to the dataset and methodology that (including the necessary corrections) supported the previous result, albeit with rather less statistical conclusiveness. The Economist remarked on the news of the programming errors that "for someone of Mr Levitt's iconoclasm and ingenuity, technical ineptitude is a much graver charge than moral turpitude. To be politically incorrect is one thing; to be simply incorrect quite another."[1] (See Legalized abortion and crime effect.)


It's an interesting theory, though.
koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

Mr. Levitt's response to Foote and Goetz:

Mr. Levitt counters that Mr. Foote is looking only at a narrow subset of his overall work on abortion and crime, so his results are of limited value, and not grounds for dismissing the whole theory. He acknowledges the programming error, but says taken by itself, that error doesn't put much of a dent in his work. (Mr. Foote's result depends on changing that formula and on the adjustment for per-capita arrests.) Moreover, Mr. Levitt says the abortion theory has held up when examined in other countries, like Canada and Australia, and when applied to other subjects, like drug use.

"Does this change my mind on the issue? Absolutely not," Mr. Levitt says.

This isn't the first time Mr. Levitt's abortion research has come under attack. Other academics have tried to poke holes in it, and critics across the political spectrum found the research offensive. Conservatives were appalled that it found such positive consequences from a practice many of them found immoral. Liberals felt it smacked of eugenics.

...

Still, as economic debates go, this one is relatively civil. Mr. Foote praises Mr. Levitt for making all of his data and his programming easily accessible and hastens to add that "in many ways it is a very careful paper." Mr. Levitt responds, "I think this is exactly the way science should work," with controversial theories being poked and prodded for their robustness.

Edward Glaeser, a Harvard professor who helped referee Mr. Levitt's original abortion submission to the Quarterly Journal of Economics, said the Foote critique isn't damning, though it does suggest the impact of abortion on crime has not been as strong as Mr. Levitt has argued. "These guys have put the [data] through the wringer," Mr. Glaeser says of Mr. Foote and his research assistant. "There is no question that the results get smaller and weaker, but there still seems to be something there."

From this site
Benjamin
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Benjamin »

JAB wrote: People also seem to have more sex when it's cold and there's no electricity thereby increasing the probability of pregnancy . Should we then provide free heating oil to everyone along with free electricity to keep the abortion and birth rate down?
That would work better than Bush's policy of spending billions of dollars on abstinence programs. :wah:
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Post by Benjamin »

"There is no question that the results get smaller and weaker, but there still seems to be something there."
I was thinking about this on the way home a few hours ago. I think there is something to it in several respects. Like Levitt mentioned, women who have children they don’t want are more likely to be abusive and abused children often commit crimes when they get older. It’s easier for someone to break out of poverty if they don’t have children to take care of and if they’re better off financially when they do have a child, they’re more likely to live in a better neighborhood where the child will be around better role models and get a better education.

Attributing 42% of the reduction of crime to the legalization of abortion is way high, though. It’s impossible to pinpoint to what extent environmental, social, or economic factors influence the crime rate. Probably, more than anything, low self-esteem causes people to commit crime. Poverty often causes low self-esteem, as does child abuse, which is more prevalent in poor neighborhoods.

That’s all I have right now. I need to get some sleep. Interesting topic, though. I’ll have to give it more thought when I have some time.
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by nvalleyvee »

koan wrote: Levitt makes a living out of asking "why?". I think that is very cool.

Sometimes finding out why is helpful even if it doesn't provide a solution.

My opinion on the next question to ask, which might have greater use, is whether or not poverty has a significant connection to both factors. If it does, perhaps we could deduce that eliminating poverty would drastically reduce both abortion rates and crime. I can't recall at the moment what numbers are floating around on that question.


WHY is always the question to ask,,,,,,,,I often wonder why people cannot ask WHY ot even WHY NOT....
The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement..........Karl R. Popper
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Benjamin »

nvalleyvee wrote: WHY is always the question to ask,,,,,,,,I often wonder why people cannot ask WHY ot even WHY NOT....
"'Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask, why not?'"

-- Robert F. Kennedy
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Post by Benjamin »

I’m going to ask why. :D

Why do people commit crimes? Here are some possible reasons:

1. Low self-esteem (lack of self-respect often results in disrespect towards others)

2. Peer pressure (everyone else is doing it)

3. Need (lack of money for the basic necessities)

4. Excitement (there’s a sense of excitement of living a dangerous lifestyle)

5. Environment (lack of decent role models)

6. Lack of a conscience or sense of consequence (this is probably a biological problem)

7. Feeling of hopelessness (there’s no other way to get what they want)

8. Feeling of power (this could be from low self-esteem or from the excitement)

Levitt’s premise is that the rise in the number of abortions in the 70s resulted in the decline in crime during the 90s. Reduction in unwanted births would result in a reduction of child abuse and perhaps, a reduction in poverty. So that would address causes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 to some extent. How much is unknown.

My hypothesis is that the booming economy was the most dominant factor responsible for the drop in crime during the 90s. Opportunity to better oneself can boost self-esteem, living in a better neighborhood often removes peer pressure to commit crimes, there wouldn’t be the “need” to commit crime, there would be better role models, and people wouldn’t have a feeling of hopelessness. So 1, 2, 3, 5, 7. It appears to address the same issues as Levitt’s abortion premise. The widespread benefits of economic opportunities during times of economic prosperity would result in a much greater impact on reducing crime than any good that might come from an increase in abortions, though.

Here in Denver, back in 1994, we had what was called the “Summer of Violence.” There was a sudden spike in the number of gang related murders and violent crime. To counter the crime wave, Denver started building police stations in the middle of high crime rate areas. Increased visibility of police has been shown to reduce crime in those areas. People’s attitudes also changed from all the news coverage. But also, the economy began to boom around that time. Denver was rated number three in the country as far as the abundance of high tech jobs. With the economic expansion came increased demand for construction workers, restaurant workers... pretty much every skill was in demand. As the economy grew, the crime rate decreased.
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Accountable »

Yaaaayyyy!! Ben's in favor of cutting taxes! :yh_clap :yh_flag :yh_clap
koan
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by koan »

Ben :-6

I agree with your ideas on motivation or causality. I think a few of them can be summarized with the last point about power. I've been a big believer that poor sense of personal power (powerlessness) is behind most 'evil' in the world. I've thought that since I was a teen. If a person feels secure and in control of their life they are not influenced by the other factors as much, if at all.

The economic theory does not have statistical support. While unemployment rates do have a relationship to crime rates it is very minimal. A 1% drop in unemployment results in about 1% drop in crime. In the 90s the drop was suddenly 40% while the unemployment rate only dropped by 2%. This only relates to non-violent crime. Violent crime is not noticably affected by the economy.

The increased presence of police, OTOH, drastically reduces crime rates. These studies have to be cross checked with all recognisable factors to come up with the final relevance stats. I had no idea how complicated it was before reading this book.
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by BTS »

koan wrote: First, I am not playing games. Personally, I find it annoying when people start threads that say "check this out" followed by a link and nothing else. Here I offer a blurb summarizing the issue as best as I can then post a link for further reading. I agree with Levitt that the findings have no bearing upon the abortion debate and it does not change my mind from my original point of view. I like to leave my personal point of view out of the thread for at least a few posts to avoid being called 'sanctimonious' for trying to push my views on others. I think I can say 'in fact' there is no posting style that I have tried that goes without attack. It is not how I post but what I post that causes anger. I like examining things that others don't like to think about and often have an unpopular point of view.



Further, I did not come across this article online, I read the whole "freaking" book. It really is rather freaky how economists view the world. So impartial.



I am pro choice but that is neither here nor there. As Levitt explains:



"The numbers we're talking about, in terms of crime, are absolutely trivial when you compare it to the broader debate on abortion. From a pro-life view of the world: If abortion is murder then we have a million murders a year through abortion. And the few thousand homicides that will be prevented according to our analysis are just nothing—they are a pebble in the ocean relative to the tragedy that is abortion. So, my own view, when we [did] the study and it hasn't changed is that: our study shouldn't change anybody's opinion about whether abortion should be legal and easily available or not. It's really a study about crime, not abortion."



My opinion on the study is that I believe the corelation is valid. The reason I put it under abortion here is because I was unsure which crime category was suitable.



BTW, PurpleChicken, accusing a highly respected economist of not knowing how to analyse numbers would be rather courageous. You might see faces turn many shades of red and purple. Interesting experiment.




"When crime rates were soaring in the 80s experts predicted horrifying statistics for the near future. Crime became a high priority problem and fear was high. They were wrong. All of them. Suddenly crime rates dropped nearly in half and we were left scrambling for some heroic reason to credit ourselves."



"Acclaimed economist Steven Levitt, the one to ask when you need a complex question answered, decided to find out why. His conclusion?



The legalization of abortion."



This amuses me..........

So the PRO ABORTIONIST people were the reason for the high crime rate from the get go?

I think if this article is correct, then, when they (Abortors) were allowed to legally take a living individual out of the cycle of life and the crime rate dropped....... while PRO LIFE people continued to PRO CREAT as usuale with out aborting as they had all along.............. and CRIME DROPPED

SHAZZZAM........... Then the high crime rate was the PRO Abortionist's group from the start?

Make sense?......

I think so.

Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.

Ronald Reagan
"If America Was A Tree, The Left Would Root For The Termites...Greg Gutfeld."
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What do crime and abortion have in common?

Post by Jives »

Accountable wrote: I remember this game! We haven't played this in a long time.



In this game, Koan Lays out a horrifying premise without stating her own opinion about it. Then, inferring of course that she must support it since she posted it, we all jump on Koan. Then Koan says something to the effect of "don't blame me, I just found it interesting. I never said my opinion one way or the other." Then she doesn't.



Koan, I don't want to play that game. I want to know what you think about the article.


You'd better watch out, Acc, you're starting to sound like me.:wah:
All the world's a stage and the men and women merely players...Shakespeare
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Post by Accountable »

koan wrote: Ben :-6



I agree with your ideas on motivation or causality. I think a few of them can be summarized with the last point about power. I've been a big believer that poor sense of personal power (powerlessness) is behind most 'evil' in the world. I've thought that since I was a teen. If a person feels secure and in control of their life they are not influenced by the other factors as much, if at all.



The economic theory does not have statistical support. While unemployment rates do have a relationship to crime rates it is very minimal. A 1% drop in unemployment results in about 1% drop in crime. In the 90s the drop was suddenly 40% while the unemployment rate only dropped by 2%. This only relates to non-violent crime. Violent crime is not noticably affected by the economy.



The increased presence of police, OTOH, drastically reduces crime rates. These studies have to be cross checked with all recognisable factors to come up with the final relevance stats. I had no idea how complicated it was before reading this book.
:yh_clap *whistles*



I agree with you 100%. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but the crime we find in poverty-ridden areas fits well. It doesn't excuse the crime or the criminal, simply offers a possible cause. When people genuinely feel in control of their lives, they respect themselves. This allows them to respect others, including their property.

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