Does the Exchange Rate Have an Influence on Homicide and Mortality?

Paul Andrew Bourne, Charlene Sharpe-Pryce, Angela Hudson-Davis, Olive Watson-Coleman, Ikhalfani Solan, Cynthia Francis, Shirley Nelson, Vivienne Quarrie, Marsha Pabarue, Louise Brown


Introduction: This study is an empirical examination of the exchange rate of US $1 to the Jamaican dollar, mortality and homicide for 44 years (1970-2013).

Objective: This article evaluates the exchange rate, homicide and mortality in Jamaica using 44 years of data (1970-2013) in an effort to determine (1) correlations, (2) strength of relationship, and (3) patterns of changes in homicide and the exchange rate.

Materials and Methods: Secondary panel data are used for this paper. The panel data are for 44 years, 1970-2013, with the data taken from various governmental agencies that have responsbility for the collection and publication of statistical data.

Findings: Using OLS regression, the relationship is a strong direct one (R2=0.743, adjusted R2=0.737). Furthermore, a 1% change in exchange rate corresponds to a 73.7% change in homicide rate. Or, the exchange rate accounts for 73.7% of the variability in homicide rate (F=118.6, P <0.0001) [1, 39]. A negative statistical association emerged between mortality rate and the exchange rate (rxy=−0.393 or b=−0.083), with 13.5% of the variability in the mortality rate accounted for by a 1% change in the exchange rate (R2=0.155, adjusted R2=0.135, F=7.694, P=0.008) [1, 41].

Conclusion: Homicide in Jamaica is an expression of economic deprivation and frustration, unbearable psychological matters confronting the individual during periods of economic hardships; therefore, economics plays a crucial role in living and dying. Consequently, it follows that the exchange rate requires careful management as it has influence over people’s quality of life and goes further than mere changes in the cost of living.


Exchange rate, Mortality, Homicide, Economics of health, Longevity, Jamaica.

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