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The (un)importance of the closure of village shops to rural migration patterns

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This study investigates the importance of local service provision for the survival of rural areas. EU Rural Development Policy includes support to village shops as a means to sustain population. Shop closing is assumed to negatively affect migration to and from the area served. We analyse quantitative data on all Swedish village shops and the migration patterns in their market areas before and after shop closure. No significant effect of shop closure on either in- or out-migration can be established, regardless of whether larger or smaller market areas are employed or whether migrants with more urban shopping habits (i.e. commuters and families with children) are excluded. Complementary interviews in three villages where the last shop has closed verify the results.

Keywords: migration; retailing; rural; service

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden,Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Human Geography, DalarnaUniversity, Falun, Sweden 3: Department of Urban and Rural Development, SwedishUniversity of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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