The Value of an Address-UPU Survey Published


According to an excellent study just published by the Universal Postal Union, Getting an Address, survey data from some 32 co-operating countries demonstrate that there is a strong positive correlation between the existence of an addressing system and two important World Bank “Doing Business” indicators. The UPU created a survey form requesting information on the costs and time delays that would be faced by a business endeavoring to obtain an address for a new warehouse it was building in a semi-urban setting on the outskirts of a city. Information was gathered regarding how many different offices, procedures, documents, filing fees and how much time would be required to obtain a street address for the facility. We should like to offer the document for download but we have been asked by the UPU not to do this.

The Doing Business indicators “provide[…] a quantitative measure of regulations for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business—as they apply to domestic small and medium-size enterprises.” The Doing Business methodology results in a ranking of 183 economies in terms of the obstacles/costs imposed on a business by government regulation and practices.

The UPU survey discovered that there is a strong correlation between the Doing Business Indicators “Registering Property” and “Starting a Business” and the new indicator being tested, “Getting an Address”.

The UPU’s survey questions could be grouped into six categories: Access, Cost, Delays, Lack of Decentralization, Procedures or Documents. Each of these categories could be calculated for each country, and all could be grouped together, to provide comparisons among countries from different vantage points. Taken all together, Switzerland is the easiest, cheapest and fastest place to get an address and Afghanistan lies at the other end of the spectrum.

While those two conclusions are interesting, they aren’t very useful. What will be very useful is the examination and comparison of results for the countries in the six categories into which the questions were ranged. Here, an examination of the differences between countries will provide some conclusions on best practices and blueprints and targets for improvement.


If you wish to obtain a copy of the work, please check on the UPU website for availability.

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