Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform
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Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

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.
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Chapter 17: Liberalization and Market Performance: Towards Higher Efficiency in Sweden

Peter Andersson


17. Liberalization and market performance: towards higher efficiency in Sweden* Peter Andersson† 1. INTRODUCTION Sweden was the first country in the world to truly liberalize its postal market. The statutory monopoly given to the state Post Office in 1888 was removed on 1 January 1993. In 1994, the Post Office was turned into a public company, Sweden Post (Posten AB), completely owned by the state. A new Postal Act and a Postal Ordinance replaced the old monopoly proclamation and the Post and Telecom Agency, the new regulatory authority, was established. The government signed a contract with Sweden Post which included the provision of universal services without any support from the state. Thus, Sweden represents an interesting benchmark for postal liberalization as the reforms took place 15 years before those in most other European Union (EU) countries. Why did Sweden’s reform precede that of other EU countries? What were the objectives of liberalization and have they been fulfilled? How did Sweden Post respond and to what extent has it been challenged by entrants? What has happened to the performance of the market: prices, productivity, quality, innovation and efficiency? What has happened to universal services? Can we learn anything from the Swedish experience about the design of the regulatory framework for a modern, competitive postal market? Section 2 will give the background to the reforms in 1993–94 and an explanation why reform occurred in Sweden long before it did in other countries. Section 3 presents the...

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