Discussion Papers

Frank Pieper

Theoretische Aspekte einer Preispolitik im Postwesen - Ergebnisse der Studie "The Economics of Postal Services" von M. A. Crew und P. R. Kleindorfer
Nr. 110 / Mai 1993


In most countries, there is a statutory monopoly for letter service. This monopoly is often justified because politicians impose on postal administrations a universal service obligation which implies an obligation to provide certain postal services throughout the national territory at a uniform price and with sufficient quality. Like other public utilities, postal service is a network industry with the connected economic problems. Allthough the postal sector faces the same problems than other traditional public utilities, it received less attention in the economic literature. WIK recognized this lack of attention and asked in 1991 Professor Micheal A. Crew (Rutgers University) and Professor Paul R. Kleindorfer (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) to analyse some connected problems for the postal sector: e.g. peak load pricing, regulation, quality of service, and technological change.

The aim of this discussion paper is to summarize the most important results of the Crew/Kleindorfer study concerning pricing theory and the application to postal services. Two concepts of setting rates in the postal sector are subject of emerging discussions: discounts for downstream access and peak-load pricing. The basic idea and some applications to postal services of both concepts are contained in this discussion paper. Those new pricing approaches may be a key instrument to make postal administrations successful operators in a competitive environment.

Only German language version available.

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