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Research focuses on vital community role of village pubs

Posted on 25 April 2012

A University of York academic has received a British Academy award to explore the role of village pubs in creating community cohesion in rural England.

Dr Ignazio Cabras from the Operations Management Group at the York Management School will look at the importance of the village pub as a place to meet and talk, and will analyse the impact of pubs on the level of socio-economic activity generated in rural parishes. For example, he will look at how pubs function as incubators for charitable and business activities.

Despite their important function, the number of village pubs has been constantly declining during the past decades

Dr Ignazio Cabras

This study will also investigate and test the existence of a cause and effect relationship between rural pubs and factors such as individuals’ health, wellbeing and crime rates in local communities.

Dr Cabras, a lecturer in operations management, has been researching community cohesion and village pubs for the past five years.

He said: “In rural England, pubs are often the nodes and centres of the local social network and perform important social, economic and community functions in maintaining village life. They play an important role in enhancing and stimulating socio-economic activities inside local communities, such as business activities, volunteering organisations and charities, and leisure services. These initiatives contribute to enhancing quality of life and wellbeing at a local level.

“Despite their important function, the number of village pubs has been constantly declining during the past decades. The loss of pubs for rural communities often means the disappearance of the only place for local people to meet and engage. It also results in the disappearance of social, economic and cultural benefits arising from initiatives that frequently have an origin in the village pubs, which work as a network tier for the entire area.”

The Institute of Public Policy and Research (IPPR) states that each pub injects an average of £80,000 into its local economy.

Dr Cabras said: “Pubs are important generators of part-time and casual employment, which is often more important in rural areas where work-opportunities for some categories of people, such as students and women with families, are frequently reduced. In addition, village pubs often work as selling hubs for local producers, who use them for placing their products.”

The 14-month study will result in a unique dataset of information collected at a parish level which will be examined by applying econometric techniques.

Dr Cabras said: “The results will increase the level of knowledge about the formation of social and economic capital in rural areas, providing an excellent instrument for practitioners and policymakers for developing future policies and strategies.”

Notes to editors:

  • More information on the York Management School, University of York, at
  • The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. For more information visit

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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