USPS Finances Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Economics Type: Essay Paper: #48234812 Related Topics: Freight, Fedex, Public Finance, Collective Bargaining
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … 1980, the demand for postage stamps was price inelastic. Elasticity reflects the affect that a change in price has on demand (Moffatt, 2015). There were few other options at the time -- only a phone call was a reasonable substitute. Not surprisingly, with multiple substitutes having emerged over the subsequent decades, demand for stamps is much more elastic than it once was. Substitutions, in particular email, come in at a much lower cost, so the postal service is simply not economical for people anymore (Hartung, 2011). That said, I am not sure that this means the elasticity has changed. If people are willing to change their habits over a penny or two either way, I'm not sure they'll do that now either, because a decline in the price of postage still won't make it cheaper than email. So people are either going to send something by post or they won't. If anything, the elasticity question is more when compared to parcel services like UPS or FedEx Ground.

The price of postage stamps should not be changed. When compared with email (free), there is no level at which the post office will be faster or more efficient. Consumers know this. They are either going to use the postal service or they are not. Among those who do, there is probably some elasticity, but...

...

So arguably, an increase will have them grumbling, but a decrease will not move the meter on getting people to switch back from email and text. Elasticity is important to pricing in most cases, because if elasticity is low, the price could be increased in order to increase total revenue. If elasticity is high, then a decrease in price will deliver an increase to total revenue. The first class stamp is actually a unique example, because it is competing against a product that consumers see as free. The incremental cost of an email is nothing. The normal rules of elasticity and substitution do not really apply when the substitute is free. People still mailing letters are going to do so because they need to. But they could change their mind if the cost of doing so is too high.

3. The USPS posts a report to Congress each year. In 2014, it actually formatted this as a 10-K, more familiar for publicly-traded corporations. Revenue has increased in the past three years, by a small amount. While the USPS has gotten its retiree health benefits under control -- they have declined by around $5 billion in the past couple of years, and the other total operating expenses are stable, the organization is still losing a lot of money every year, and that money must be…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Hartung, A. (2011). Why the postal service is going out of business. Forbes Retrieved April 3, 2015 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2011/12/06/why-the-postal-service-is-going-out-of-business/

Moffatt, M. (2015). Price elasticity of demand. About.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015 from http://economics.about.com/cs/micfrohelp/a/priceelasticity.htm

USPS (2014). Form 10-K 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2015 from http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/financials/10k-reports/fy2014.pdf


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