Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 12: Econometric Models and the Evolution of the French Post Office Network
* François Boldron,† Frédérique Fève,‡ Jean-Pierre Florens,§ Clémence Panet-Amaro¶ and Christophe Valognes†† 1 INTRODUCTION Most of the studies on the cost analysis in postal economy concern the delivery part of the production process (see Bradley and Colvin, 1993; Cazals et al., 1997, 2001, 2005a and b; Roy, 1999). In 2002, Cazals et al. presented an econometric analysis of a cost function for the postal counters network in France. In particular, they derived cost elasticities for all counter activities performed in post offices. Since 2002, this French network has faced major changes. First, customer habits have changed for different reasons, but mainly because the volume of mail has decreased. In consequence, traffic at postal outlets has been affected. Second, a new territorial organization has been set up. Today, the network is structured into ‘units’ (‘Terrains’ in the French terminology, which is used throughout the chapter) composed of a main office, some secondary offices and some partners, which provide some postal services. These partners may be private stores or municipalities. Moreover, this new organization is characterized by an important transformation movement with an increase in the number of partners replacing owned post offices. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze with the new organization the cost at the level of the Terrains and to compare this analysis to that of Cazals et al. in 2002 before the redefinition and reshaping of the network. It examines the impact on the cost of alternative forms of aggregation of outputs....
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