Table of Contents

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindofer and James I. Campbell Jr

The postal and delivery sector has been the subject of considerable interest in recent years. This Handbook brings together a number of contributions directed at understanding developments in the field of postal reform. The authors review the experience and plans of individual countries to provide some perspective on the problems faced in the area and the varied approaches being taken to address it. They also review key elements of policy and strategy that are important in this debate.

Chapter 5: Economics of Post Office Networks: Strategic Issues and the Impact on Mail Demand

Martin Buser, Christian Jaag and Urs Trinkner

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


5. Economics of post office networks: strategic issues and the impact on mail demand* Martin Buser,† Christian Jaag‡ and Urs Trinkner§ 1. INTRODUCTION Postal market liberalization is a current issue in Switzerland as well as in the European Union. The reserved area has been the traditional means to finance the provision of universal postal services at uniform prices. There is, therefore, a concern that further reductions in the reserved area could undermine the ability of the incumbent postal operator to finance its universal service obligation (USO). Hence, the traditional USO has come under scrutiny in many countries. The two most important cost factors in the postal sector related to the USO are ubiquity of delivery at a uniform price and a network of post offices that is sufficient to enable accessibility to postal services for all citizens. In our chapter, we discuss the role of the post office in the marketplace. It not only adds to the incumbent’s cost, but also serves as its important and traditionally established hallmark. Hence, the optimization of the postal outlet network is of significant strategic and political importance. While some post offices may be converted into agencies, franchises and specialized counters for business customers, households beyond the reach of a postal outlet may also be served with postal products by postmen/women during their mail delivery round. After an assessment of post office reorganization programs in selected countries in Section 2, we focus in Section 3 on Swiss...

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