According to the European Commission, one of the biggest obstacles of e-commerce development is the high costs of cross-border delivery. The Commission rests on an econometric study on letter and parcel prices done by Claes and Vergote (2015) to support its claims. According to that study, cross-border parcel prices would be almost 5 times higher than their domestic counterparts and economic drivers would explain less than 50% of the variability observed in the price differential between cross-border and domestic parcel products provided by the national postal operators in 25 EU Member States. This implicitly presumes that more than 50% of the price differential between domestic and cross-border postal products is not justified on economic grounds and is an unfair profit for postal operators.
In this paper, two economists of La Poste summarize Claes and Vergote (2015) study and highlight its caveats. They run their own econometric regressions to determine the drivers of cross-border letters and parcels tariffs. Their alternative study reduces the unexplained variability observed between international tariffs set by European postal operators. By using another econometric specification and a priori more relevant explanatory variables, they explain more than 77% of the variation in international tariffs for letters and 62% for parcels.
Source: Le Groupe La Poste