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Productivity at the Post: its Drivers and its Distribution

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

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.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 169.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:169
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  1. C. A. Knox Lovell & E. Grifell-Tatjé, 1996. "Profits and Productivity," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-18, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Geddes, Rick, 1998. "The Economic Effects of Postal Reorganization," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 139-56, March.
  3. R. Richard Geddes, 2003. "Saving the Mail," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 52824, 4.
  4. David Sappington & J. Sidak, 2003. "Incentives for Anticompetitive Behavior by Public Enterprises," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 183-206, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
  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 S43-S52, 09.
  8. Eldor, Dan & Sudit, Ephraim F, 1981. "Productivity-based financial net income analysis," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 605-611.
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