Congress, USPS, and other postal stakeholders have considered a range of different business models to address USPS’s financial difficulties and define its future role in an evolving postal marketplace. As part of these considerations, questions have been raised about the continued need for the letter delivery monopoly and the mailbox monopoly and, more broadly, about a variety of laws that apply differently to USPS and its private delivery competitors such as United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx. As your request noted, it is important that policymakers understand the advantages and disadvantages of USPS’s status as an independent establishment of the executive branch. This report focuses on (1) what is known about the value of USPS’s letter delivery and mailbox monopolies, (2) views on the potential effects of narrowing or eliminating these monopolies; and (3) considerations that would need to be addressed to estimate the value of USPS’s financial advantages and burdens resulting from laws that apply differently to USPS and its private competitors.

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