Doctor of Philosophy student
Master of Business in Economics
Bachelor of Business in Economics
She loves the variety that comes with research, says Livvy Mitchell who spent the last two years as a research analyst at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in Wellington.
“As an independent NGO, Motu gets commissioned by various stakeholders to conduct research in their space. Since the organisation has funders that cover many different research areas, this means researchers don’t easily get siloed into certain topics.
“For example, as part of my role I worked on projects commissioned by the Climate Change Commission, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Social Development, and for the Human Rights Commission. I enjoyed the variety of research projects I’ve been involved in.”
Her experiences at Motu further ignited Livvy’s passion for research, and inspired her to return to AUT to enrol in a PhD in economics and pursue her own research on the economics of crime.
“I enjoyed expanding my research portfolio at Motu with projects across a range of topics, including the impact of climate change mitigation policies, the measurement of human rights outcomes and the prevalence of gendered parenting in Aotearoa. These projects provided useful experience analysing microdata and using different empirical techniques of economic analysis, which will no doubt be invaluable for my PhD.”
Finding her path
Choosing to study business was an easy decision for Livvy who completed a Bachelor of Business in Economics at AUT, followed by a Master of Business.
“I really enjoyed studying economics in high school and participating in the Young Enterprise Scheme in 2013. These experiences motivated me to pursue further business studies.
“By participating in the Young Enterprise Scheme I was also privileged enough to be awarded the AUT Scholar of the Year 2013 scholarship, which funded a Bachelor of Business at AUT. However, I didn’t want to choose AUT for only financial reasons. So, after researching what AUT had to offer, my decision was swayed by the workplace experience component of AUT’s business degree. I thought AUT’s connections with business would be a great market to tap into.”
She would highly recommend AUT’s business programmes to other students, Livvy says.
“It’s a very hands-on programme and the staff are very supportive with every component of the degree. People genuinely care about your success and wellbeing and don’t treat you as ‘just another number’. AUT also provided so many networking, employment and learning opportunities, which made my time at AUT an all-round experience.”
A passion for empirical research
When Livvy completed her Bachelor of Business in 2018, she felt there was still a lot more she could learn and decided to return to AUT for postgraduate study.
“While I enjoyed the Bachelor of Business, I felt like there were still many more ways that I could expand my skillset as a budding economist. In the final year of my Bachelor of Business, I discovered that I have a passion for empirical research, and I wanted the opportunity to conduct my own research project.”
For her Master of Business research, Livvy completed an econometric policy evaluation of New Zealand’s home detention sentence. Her research was supervised by Associate Professor Peer Skov and Professor Gail Pacheco from the AUT Business School.
“I used Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure to compare the outcomes of offenders who were sentenced to home detention compared to those sentenced to short-term imprisonment, community detention and intensive supervision. I found no evidence that home detention lowers the recidivism rate of first-time offenders, nor does it have any significant impact on offenders’ employment rate or average annual earnings.
“My thesis was the first econometric evaluation of New Zealand’s home detention sentence, so it provides novel insights into the causal impact of the sentence on first-time offender outcomes and highlights the difference between realised and theorised outcomes within the economics of crime.”