Reforming the Postal Sector in the Face of Electronic Competition
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Reforming the Postal Sector in the Face of Electronic Competition

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer

In our increasingly technology-focused world, demand for traditional postal services is steadily shrinking. This timely volume examines the many challenges that the worldwide postal sector is facing as a result of growing electronic competition, and offers expert recommendations for reshaping postal structures to strengthen their competitiveness in an electronic age.
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Chapter 23: What’s past is prologue: understanding developments in North American postal markets

Michael D. Bradley, Jeff Colvin and Mary K. Perkins


Research on postal economics, whether presented in regulatory forums or in the series of Rutgers Center for Research on Regulated Industries Conferences on Postal and Delivery Economics (CRRI conferences), has exercised an important influence on postal policy over the past 22 years. Tracing the debates and their relation to actual developments in North American postal markets since the first of the CRRI conferences in 1990 is the purpose of this chapter. A proper analysis of the recent history of the postal industry in the US and Canada requires understanding the fundamental nature of postal markets and the basic issues that have arisen. Such issues have been debated at these conferences throughout the relatively peaceful years of the 1990s. Such issues have reappeared in intriguing new forms in the years since. In this chapter, we focus on four such issues, which have been important in recent postal policy considerations in North America and have been treated at length at the CRRI conferences. The first is governance/regulatory policy, the second is the Universal Service Obligation (USO), the third is the measurement of postal costs and the fourth involves pricing of postal products, including access pricing.

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