The Influence of Violent Crimes on Health in Jamaica: A Spurious Correlation and an Alternative Paradigm 5-12
Dr. Paul A. Bourne
Director, Socio-Medical Research Institute,
Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.
Phone: 875 457 6990.
Background: The discourse on crime and health in Jamaica is devoid of the influence of violent crimes on the nature of the health. The discourse on health recognizes that violent crime is a cause of mortality; however, health researchers have paid limited attention to this area, despite the fact that annually murders have taken more lives than HIV/AIDS.
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to test the hypotheses that 1) violent crime directly influenced the health status, 2) the correlation between violent crime and health was a spurious one, 3) other selected macroeconomic variables influenced the health status of Jamaica, 4) explained the model illness rate 5) established a number of violent crime equations, and 6) explained the cyclical distribution of the illness rates.
Methods: By using 21 years of data which were collected from different publications of the government departments in Jamaica, this study utilized different econometric techniques to carry out the data analyses.
Findings: On seeking to reduce the specification errors, this work found that there existed no real relationship between violent crime and the illness rate, and that the illness rate was a function of 1) health care utilization, 2) unemployment and 3) GDP.
Conclusion: The positive correlation between GDP and the illness rate in Jamaica suggested that health policies should be planned differently in the periods of growth as against the economic downturn.