Rick Geddes has produced the first intensive analysis of the U.S. Postal Service since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970--just as the federal giant faces the scrutiny of a presidential commission on its long-term viability and President Bush has announced his intention to privatize 800,000 federal jobs.
Although the 1970 act set in motion the most entensive reorganization of a federal agency, almost no rigorous empirical assessment of the act's effects on the Postal Service has been undertaken--until now.
Technological developments in communications, the author contends, make postal reform inevitable. The USPS is unlikely to remain viable for long in its present form.
The author explores USPS structure and performance measures, discounts standard arguments about postal monopolies and duties, and cites the organizational reform of similar industries and experience of other governments that restructured their postal service. He details a two-step reform process, including a public offering of shares featuring employee stock ownership, with concurrent regulation reform, and then the introduction of competition. [more...]
The AEI Evaluative Studies series aims to promote greater understanding and continuing review of major activities of the federal government. Each study focuses on a government program or policy in operation by examining its purposes, administration, costs, and effectiveness and then recommends practical reform for improved performance.
Rick Geddes joined the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University in the autumn of 2002 and is an adjunct scholar AEI.