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Competition through Cooperation? The Case of the German Postal Market


  • Toufic M. El Masri

    () (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)


How can small and medium-sized German postal providers ensure nationwide geographical coverage without the aid of the former monopolist? A closer look at the industry revealed that postal providers in Germany engage in different types of cooperation in order to expand their geographical coverage independently from the market leader. In order to shed light on the effects of cooperation, I conducted a theoretical analysis using a spatial economic model complemented by a brief game-theoretical discussion. Moreover, I provide the first descriptive and case study evidence from unique data collected in 2010 and 2011, within the framework of a German postal market survey. I found that small postal providers cooperate with each other in order to extend their geographical service area and to succeed in the market. Furthermore, I also found – in both the theoretical analysis as well as in the evidence – that there is a negative counter-effect stemming from this cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Toufic M. El Masri, 2013. "Competition through Cooperation? The Case of the German Postal Market," Working Paper Series in Economics 286, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:286

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "Industry Structure, Market Rivalry, and Public Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-9, April.
    2. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
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    More about this item


    Cooperation; Competition; Germany; Network Industries; Postal Sector;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L97 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Utilities: General

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