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Universal service obligations in the postal sector: The relationship between quality and coverage

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  • Calzada, Joan

Abstract

This paper examines competition in the postal sector when one private incumbent and one entrant play a three-stage game. First, firms choose their coverage. Then, they choose the quality of the mail. Finally, firms choose the price. I modify the traditional model of product differentiation proposed by Mussa and Rosen [Mussa, M., Rosen, S., 1978. Monopoly and product quality. Journal of Economic Theory 18, 301-317] in order to consider that firms decide their quality and coverage. Valletti et al. [Valletti, T., Hoernig, S., Barros, P., 2002. Universal service and entry: the role of uniform pricing and coverage constraints. Journal of Regulatory Economics 21 (2), 169-190] show that when an incumbent is regulated by a uniform pricing constraint the entrant will choose a low level of coverage to increase the incumbent's uniform price and weaken competition. In this paper, I show that by increasing product differentiation, the entrant can obtain the same price increase with a smaller reduction of coverage. Acknowledgement of the strategic link between quality and coverage can be very useful in the design of a regulatory policy. The paper also considers a mixed duopoly in which the public firm covers the entire market and offers high quality service. In this context, I explain that the mixed equilibrium implements the first-best qualities and coverage levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 10-20

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:21:y:2009:i:1:p:10-20

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

Related research

Keywords: Postal sector Universal service Uniform price Quality Coverage;

References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Boldron, François & Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Joram, Denis & Roy, Bernard, 2007. "Social costs and benefits of the universal service obligation in the postal market," IDEI Working Papers 456, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Crampes, C. & Hollander, A., 1991. "Duopoly and Quality Standards," Cahiers de recherche 9128, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  3. Cremer, Helmuth, et al, 2001. "Entry and Competition in the Postal Market: Foundations for the Construction of Entry Scenarios," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 107-21, March.
  4. CREMER, Helmuth & MARCHAND, Maurice & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Mixed oligopoly with differentiated products," CORE Discussion Papers RP -930, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Valletti, Tommaso M, 2000. "Minimum Quality Standards under Cournot Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 235-45, November.
  6. Mark Armstrong, 2001. "Access Pricing, Bypass, and Universal Service," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 297-301, May.
  7. CREMER, Helmut & THISSE, Jacques-François, 1992. "Commodity taxation in a differentiated oligopoly," CORE Discussion Papers 1992035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Chone, Philippe & Flochel, Laurent & Perrot, Anne, 2000. "Universal service obligations and competition," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 249-259, September.
  9. K. Sridhar Moorthy, 1988. "Product and Price Competition in a Duopoly," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(2), pages 141-168.
  10. Hoernig, Steffen & Pita Barros, Pedro Luis & Valletti, Tommaso, 2001. "Universal Service and Entry: the Role of Uniform Pricing and Coverage Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 2789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Rosston, G.R. & Wimmer, B.S., 2000. "The "State" of Universal Service," Papers 99-018, United Nations World Employment Programme-.
  12. Rodriguez, Frank & Storer, David, 2000. "Alternative approaches to estimating the cost of the USO in posts," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 285-299, September.
  13. Gasmi, Farid & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Sharkey, William, 1999. "Competition, Universal Service and Telecommunications Policy in Developing Countries," IDEI Working Papers 92, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  14. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
  15. Rosston, Gregory L. & Wimmer, Bradley S., 2000. "The 'state' of universal service," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 261-283, September.
  16. Crew, Michael A & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1998. "Efficient Entry, Monopoly, and the Universal Service Obligation in Postal Service," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-25, September.
  17. Joan Calzada, 2009. "Access charges under two-tier pricing," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 296-311, June.
  18. H. Cremer & F. Gasmi & A. Grimaud & J. J. Laffont, 2001. "Universal Service: An economic perspective," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(1), pages 5-43, 03.
  19. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bakhtieva, Dilyara & Kiljański, Kamil, 2012. "Universal Service Obligation and Loyalty Effects: An Agent-Based Modelling Approach," MPRA Paper 48549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jean-Christophe Poudou & Michel Roland, 2013. "Efficiency of Uniform Pricing in Universal Service Obligation," Working Papers 13-13, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Nov 2013.
  3. Helmut M. Dietl & Urs Trinkner, 2008. "Developing Universal Postal Services in Latin America – an Economic Perspective," Working Papers 0012, Swiss Economics, revised Nov 2008.
  4. Joan Calzada & Xavier Fageda, 2012. "Discounts and Public Service Obligations in the Airline Market: Lessons from Spain," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 291-312, June.
  5. GAUTIER, Axel & POUDOU, Jean-Christophe, 2013. "Reforming the postal universal service," CORE Discussion Papers 2013024, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Damien Broussolle, 2007. "Full Market Opening In The Postal Services Facing The Social And Territorial Cohesion Goal In France," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2007-07, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
  7. Cristinel CONSTANTIN, 2012. "Coordinates Of Postal Services Market In Romania," Management and Marketing Journal, University of Craiova, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 0(2), pages 261-272, November.

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