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The Economic and Social Utility of the Postal Infrastructure: Above and Beyond Postal Items Delivery

In: The Changing Postal Environment


  • Claire Borsenberger

    (Direction of Regulation and Economic Studies– Le Groupe La Poste)


Digitalization of the economy continues to shrink postal operators’ (POs) historical core business – letter mail delivery. As a result, their economic performance is under pressure. Nonetheless, POs continue to be a key vector of socioeconomic development: with a global network of over 677,000 post offices and 5.3 million employees around the world according to UPU statistics, POs still facilitate economic activity and provide large benefits to the society in a variety of ways. Indeed, they have never been “just” mail or parcel carriers. Through their human and physical infrastructure, they have always promoted social and territorial cohesion and supported local economic development. When the economic sustainability of the postal universal service is threatened and the users’ needs are questioned, it is useful to revisit the literature on the economic and social contribution of POs. This work is a first step toward documenting their current contributions to promoting the digital economy and supporting an aging population. The paper offers fruitful insights for revising the European Postal Directive.

Suggested Citation

  • Claire Borsenberger, 2020. "The Economic and Social Utility of the Postal Infrastructure: Above and Beyond Postal Items Delivery," Topics in Regulatory Economics and Policy, in: Pier Luigi Parcu & Timothy J. Brennan & Victor Glass (ed.), The Changing Postal Environment, pages 321-333, Springer.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:topchp:978-3-030-34532-7_24
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-34532-7_24

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