Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 26: The postal economy in the UK and Rutgers CRRI conferences since 1990: a review of developments and economic themes
The first Rutgers CRRI conference on Postal and Delivery Economics was held in Rugby in the UK in 1990. That conference and succeeding ones have contributed much to the analysis and understanding of developments in the sector and, throughout, the enduring theme of the conferences has been the analysis of postal markets and policy and the factors affecting these in a period of major change. In 1990, the postal sector in the UK was dominated by the Post Office Group, a public corporation. The Group consisted of three main businesses: Royal Mail (all mail including international and unaddressed); Parcelforce (parcels); and the Post Office (counters). Of these, Royal Mail was by far the largest and had a monopoly in the addressed mail market for items under £1, except for exempted areas such as document exchanges. Following a period of growth during the preceding decade, total addressed mail volumes were about 16 billion items, of which only about 600 million were international and the remainder inland, while the Group employed about 210,000 employees, of which about 170,000 were in Royal Mail.3 Unaddressed mail was outside the monopoly, as were parcels, and there were a large number of private operators in these sectors. The Post Office network contained both directly operated (Crown) and franchise offices.
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