Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindofer and James I. Campbell Jr
Chapter 9: Postal Transformation: United States Postal Service Builds a Platform for Fundamental Future Change
Robert A.F. Reisner† 1. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION Throughout the world, transformation1 of the posts has become an increasingly popular and urgent theme. For example, in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, postal and mailing industry leaders are talking about transformation, though the meaning of transformation and the market contexts often diﬀer considerably across these countries. Indeed, there are as many deﬁnitions of transformation as there are new initiatives. Some posts have concentrated on cost reduction and productivity improvement, others on stimulating top-line growth. In some cases transformation means massive investments in letter-mail automation to permit restructuring of postal operations. In other cases, it has included an investment in new postal electronic services. In still others there have been fundamental changes in the governance structure, privatization and even the acquisition of new businesses. This chapter explores the transformation of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to this point and the opportunities that the work to date has created for the future. The case of USPS is a useful reference point in examining the implications of global postal transformation. USPS processes 40 percent of the world’s mail and it has been a model that has been followed by posts throughout the world since it has sought to transform without changing its basic public sector ownership model. In spite of a major new postal reform law, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006, USPS remains a unique governmental enterprise.2 One conclusion drawn in...
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