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The Initial and Dynamic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Crime in New Zealand


  • Lydia Cheung

    (Auckland University of Technology)

  • Philip Gunby

    (University of Canterbury)


We use seasonal ARIMA methods to study the imposition and removal of national uniform social distancing restrictions in response to Covid-19 in New Zealand for six crime types in six cities. We then use the estimated models to forecast counterfactual crime trajectories. Novel elements include cleanly defined lockdown periods, two dis- tinct lockdowns with meaningful gaps between them, and sizeable periods after each one to allow for dynamics. We find that social restrictions initially lower offending, subsequent lockdowns have smaller impacts on offending, “bounce back” occurs in criminal offending after their removal, and bounce back is faster from subsequent lockdowns.

Suggested Citation

  • Lydia Cheung & Philip Gunby, 2023. "The Initial and Dynamic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Crime in New Zealand," Working Papers 2023-03, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:aut:wpaper:2023-03

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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