IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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

  • Calzada, Joan

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

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

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:21:y:2009:i:1:p:10-20
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Cremer, Helmuth & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1994. "Commodity Taxation in a Differentiated Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 613-33, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  4. Mark Armstrong, 2001. "Access Pricing, Bypass, and Universal Service," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 297-301, May.
  5. Uri Ronnen, 1991. "Minimum Quality Standards, Fixed Costs, and Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 490-504, Winter.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Joan Calzada, 2009. "Access charges under two-tier pricing," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 296-311, June.
  9. Valletti, Tommaso M, 2000. "Minimum Quality Standards under Cournot Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 235-45, November.
  10. Valletti, Tommaso M & Hoernig, Steffen & Barros, Pedro P, 2002. "Universal Service and Entry: The Role of Uniform Pricing and Coverage Constraints," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 169-90, March.
  11. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & François Boldron & Bernard Roy, 2008. "Social Costs and Benefits of the Universal Service Obligation in the Postal Market," Chapters, in: Competition and Regulation in the Postal and Delivery Sector, chapter 2 Edward Elgar.
  12. K. Sridhar Moorthy, 1988. "Product and Price Competition in a Duopoly," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(2), pages 141-168.
  13. 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).
  14. Crampes, C. & Hollander, A., 1991. "Duopoly and Quality Standards," Cahiers de recherche 9128, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  15. Chone, Philippe & Flochel, Laurent & Perrot, Anne, 2000. "Universal service obligations and competition," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 249-259, September.
  16. Rosston, G.R. & Wimmer, B.S., 2000. "The "State" of Universal Service," Papers 99-018, United Nations World Employment Programme-.
  17. 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.
  18. Rosston, Gregory L. & Wimmer, Bradley S., 2000. "The 'state' of universal service," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 261-283, September.
  19. Gasmi, F. & Laffont, J. J. & Sharkey, W. W., 2000. "Competition, universal service and telecommunications policy in developing countries," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 221-248, September.
  20. Germà Bel & Joan Calzada, 2009. "Privatization and Universal Service Obligations," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 650-669, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:21:y:2009:i:1:p:10-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.