Protecting Competition from the Postal Monopoly

J. Gregory Sidak & Daniel F. Spulber


The Private Express Statutes protect the U.S. Postal Service from competition in the delivery of letter mail. In contrast, few if any corresponding rules protect competition in other areas from the federal government’s postal monopoly. Not only are the Postal Service’s competitive’ activities arguably unrestricted by any explicit application of antitrust law, but public ownership and control exempt the Postal Service’s actions from the corporate governance that is characteristic of private enterprises. The Postal Service can take advantage of its autonomy and protected letter mail monopoly to subsidize its entry and expansion in competitive markets, such as parcel post and express mail. This raises a fundamental issue: whether Congress’s grant of a monopoly to the Postal Service over the delivery of letter mail should be used to restrict or supplant private commerce in other markets. In this book, we examine the justifications for the publicly protected postal monopoly and its public ownership and control. On the basis of our economic and legal analysis, we demonstrate the need to prevent extension of the postal monopoly into competitive markets.

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