Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2009:4: När lanthandeln stänger. En studie av lanthandelns betydelse för flyttning in och ut och för människorna i byn.

Jan Amcoff (), Peter Möller and Erik Westholm ()
Additional contact information
Jan Amcoff: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Peter Möller: Högskolan Dalarna
Erik Westholm: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In Sweden the number of rural food shops has decreased for more than 50 years. Often the closing of a village shop is supposed to affect the migration patterns in the area it has been serving. However, according to this study, neither in- nor out-migration in the area affected by the closing is affected. The deficits of migration usual in those areas are established at least 10-12 years before the closing year. Thus, the typical closing takes place subsequent to a long term population decline. On the other hand, localities hosting a shop that survived during the study period 1990-2004 have a bigger total population and show tendencies towards decreasing deficit of migration at any potential closing year. These statistical results are supported by interviews carried out in three villages where the last shop has closed. They indicate that the shop has already lost its importance as supplier when it closes. By then the village shop is primarily used as complement to nearby towns or shopping centres. Each of the two studies accounted for here point at a relative un-importance of the village shop as a service point at the closing time. However, as it often offer the last public space in the village the village shop serves a key function as a meeting point for some households. When the shop has closed, the village holds private homes only. That is a situation increasing loneliness to some inhabitants.

Keywords: rural food shops; migration; population decline

JEL-codes: R10; R23

61 pages, April 2009

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN: 1652-120X; ISBN:978-91-85619-43-6

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