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Productivity at the Post: its Drivers and its Distribution

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  • Emili Grifell-Tatjé
  • C. A. Knox Lovell

Abstract

We study the economic, financial and distributional performance of the United States Postal Service subsequent to its 1971 reorganization. We investigate the economic sources of productivity change, (technical change, change in cost efficiency, and scale economies), and the distribution of the financial benefits of productivity change (consumers of postal services, postal employees and other resource suppliers, and residual claimants). We find improvements in technology to have been the main driver of, and diseconomies of scale to have been the main drag on, productivity change. We find labor to have been the main beneficiary, and the US Treasury and consumers of postal services the main losers, from postal reorganization.

Suggested Citation

  • Emili Grifell-Tatjé & C. A. Knox Lovell, 2005. "Productivity at the Post: its Drivers and its Distribution," Working Papers 169, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:169
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Salerian, 2003. "Analysing the Performance of Firms Using a Decomposable Ideal Index Number to Link Profit, Prices and Productivity," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 143-155.
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    3. R. Richard Geddes, 2003. "Saving the Mail: How to Solve the Problems of the U.S. Postal Service," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 52824.
    4. Geddes, Rick, 1998. "The Economic Effects of Postal Reorganization," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 139-156, March.
    5. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    6. E. Grifell-Tatjé & C. A. K. Lovell, 1999. "Profits and Productivity," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(9), pages 1177-1193, September.
    7. Denis Lawrence & Anya Richards, 2004. "Distributing the Gains from Waterfront Productivity Improvements," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(s1), pages 43-52, September.
    8. Eldor, Dan & Sudit, Ephraim F, 1981. "Productivity-based financial net income analysis," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 605-611.
    9. David Sappington & J. Sidak, 2003. "Incentives for Anticompetitive Behavior by Public Enterprises," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(3), pages 183-206, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hudon, Marek & Périlleux, Anaïs, 2014. "Surplus distribution and characteristics of social enterprises: Evidence from microfinance," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 147-157.
    2. Florian Ploeckl, 2016. "Uniform Service, Uniform Productivity? Regional Efficiency of the Imperial German Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone Service," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 56(2), pages 221-243, July.
    3. Grifell-Tatjé, E., 2011. "Profit, productivity and distribution: Differences across organizational forms - The case of Spanish banks," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 72-83, June.
    4. Tochkov, Kiril, 2015. "The efficiency of postal services in the age of market liberalization and the internet: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 35-42.
    5. repec:kap:jproda:v:49:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0521-7 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; profit; distribution; postal service;

    JEL classification:

    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises

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