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Uniform Service, Uniform Productivity? Regional Efficiency of the Imperial German Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone Service

Australian Economic History Review

Published online on


Using the regional productivity of the Reichspost, the postal service of the German Empire, I investigate whether a public monopolist operates with uniform regional productivity. Using data envelopment analysis efficiency scores, we derive the relative productivity of the post, telegraph, and telephone sectors from 1891 to 1908. Results show a fairly stable system with substantial raw productivity differences between postal districts, and that the expansion of the service offset technological productivity increases for the mail service.