Competition and Regulation in the Postal and Delivery Sector
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Competition and Regulation in the Postal and Delivery Sector

  • Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer

orldwide, postal and delivery economics has attracted considerable interest. Numerous questions have arisen, including the role of regulation, funding the Universal Service Obligation, postal reform in Europe, Asia and North America, the future of national postal operators, demand and pricing strategies, and the principles that should govern the introduction of competition. Collected here are responses to these questions in the form of 24 essays written by researchers, practitioners, and senior managers from throughout the world.
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Chapter 3: The Distribution of Post Offices in Italy and the United States

Robert Cohen, Luigi Di Paola, Rene Sheehy and Vincenzo Visco Comandini

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3. The distribution of post offices in Italy and the United States* Robert Cohen, Luigi Di Paola, Renée Sheehy and Vincenzo Visco Comandini 1. INTRODUCTION The post is considered a basic and fundamental service throughout the industrialized world. The universal service obligation (USO) for postal services always includes a mandate to render effective and regular service to all areas (including rural ones). This in turn influences the distribution of post offices. This chapter presents the distribution of post offices in the US and Italy. It then compares these distributions with the distribution of pharmacies in the US and banks in Italy. The distribution of the latter two is the result of the operation of economic forces, while the distribution of post offices reflects historical factors that may or may not be relevant today, political forces, and social needs. The distribution of post offices would, therefore, be expected to be different from those of banks and pharmacies. The chapter finds that service outlets for pharmacies and banks in the United States and Italy appear to be driven by population density, as expected for market-determined services. However, the distribution of post offices in these countries exhibits a rather different pattern. The data show for both countries that rural areas receive a higher quality of retail service than do urban areas, because of the disproportionate number of post offices relative to population. This in turn makes the provision of counter...

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