Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 17: The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act: Some Consequences
Robert A.F. Reisner, Lawrence G. Buc and James Pierce Myers On December 20, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA, or Act).1 This signing marked the culmination of a 12-year eﬀort to reform the statutory charter for the United States Postal Service (USPS). This chapter discusses what the new law seeks to accomplish and how we will know whether it succeeded. This chapter focuses on legislative changes and regulatory developments in the US, but the implications of this subject have global signiﬁcance. USPS has a signiﬁcant share of the world’s mail, and has played an important role in postal history, serving as a model for reform when it was introduced in 1970. The fundamental changes that PAEA has brought to the US operating and regulatory model are of interest throughout the postal world. What is more, even today, as privatization and deregulation have been advanced by some as the new postal model, questions remain – How far? How fast? The new USPS model presents a clear alternative to the trends toward privatization that have been seen in Europe in the past decade. The global postal industry will follow future developments in the US and will want to know whether the new US postal reform law was a success. This chapter oﬀers some initial considerations in this coming discussion. By any standard, the journey to postal reform in the US has been a struggle. From the ﬁrst...
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