Optimal Worksharing Discounts
Forty percent of first-class mail is workshared, meaning that mailers perform part of the postal service work, such as sorting, in exchange for a price discount. Here the optimal discount is shown to depend on whether mailers workshare all their mail. If they do, their marginal decisions will affect usage of the mail, and the normal Ramsey inverse-elasticity rule will apply. If they do not, and their marginal decision involves the amount of their worksharing, then worksharing supply elasticities play a role in the optimal discount. In the latter case, margins will be greater for workshared letters. Problems in balancing these solutions, and in estimating cost savings from worksharing, are also discussed. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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