The Mission of the Postal Service and the Universal Service Obligation
The Presidential Commission to Study the Postal Service

President George W. Bush recently established the Commission on the United States Postal Service, whose final report in August 2003 may lay the groundwork for the first major reform of the U.S. Postal Service in thirty years. Mirroring the administration’s initiative, AEI is sponsoring its own Postal Reform Initiative--a series of conferences and publications to assess the mission and operations of the U.S. Postal Service, propose a vision of a modern postal industry, and suggest how the United States could arrive at this destination. In order to solve the problems that have bedeviled the U.S. postal industry, the AEI project examines the potential of modern communications technology and a more open and competitive market environment and reviews the experiences of other countries that have enacted postal reform in recent years.

This second session of the AEI Postal Service Initiative will focus on the mission of the U.S. Postal Service, how technology has affected this mission, and the meaning of universal service. Future conferences will address competition issues caused by postal reform and, upon its release, the implications of the commission’s proposal.

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About the Author


R. Richard
  • Rick Geddes is associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. His research fields include private infrastructure investment through public-private partnerships, postal service policy, corporate governance, women's property rights, and antitrust policy. He is a Research Associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Australian National University in Canberra in the fall of 2009, and a Visiting Researcher at the Australian Government's Productivity Commission in the spring of 2010. His research focused on Australian public-private partnerships in both positions. Geddes teaches courses at Cornell on corporate governance and the regulation of industry.

    In addition to his teaching and research at Cornell, Geddes served as a commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, which submitted its report to Congress in January 2008. He has held positions as a senior staff economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers, Visiting Faculty Fellow at Yale Law School, and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

    In 2008, Geddes received the Kappa Omicron Nu/Human Ecology Alumni Association Student Advising Award. His published work has appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Regulatory Economics, the Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, the Journal of Legal Studies, the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy, and Managerial and Decision Economics, among others.

  • Email: [email protected]

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