The Role of the Postal and Delivery Sector in a Digital Age
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The Role of the Postal and Delivery Sector in a Digital Age

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Timothy J. J. Brennan

This volume, the result of the 21st Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics (Ireland, 2013), describes the continuing problem of the decline of the postal sector in the face of electronic competition and offers strategies for the survival of mail services in a digital age.
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Chapter 12: The 'national champion' approach to postal operators: the case of the Netherlands

Benjamin Gough


Government policy is crucial for a countryís successful postal performance. This chapter will focus upon a specific kind of government involvement in the postal sector that can be understood as a form of the ënational championí model. A national champion approach to postal services is one where the government aims to turn the incumbent national postal operator (NPO) into a leader in the world communications market, believing that this will enable it to make the maximum possible contribution to the national economy (Campbell, 2002, p. 45). The NPO is provided opportunities to diversify into other national markets and products, offsetting revenue losses from potential declines in traditional mail volumes and, in the view of national champion proponents, increasing domestic welfare. The national champion approach also presents challenges for NPOs, in particular, dependence upon government support and operation in international markets where other postal operators, some of which are also national champions, are seeking to encroach upon their own domestic markets. This latter situation would become crucial for critics of asymmetric liberalization, who feared that the Dutch postal market was being opened far in advance of its neighborsí markets, putting the NPO at a competitive disadvantage. This chapter will explore the positive and negative consequences of the application of the national champion model to postal services, using the Netherlands as a case study.

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