Merethe Dotterud Leiren


EU liberalization has a tendency to occur even in the most disputed policy areas. Drawing on two approaches, gradual institutional theories and differentiated integration, this contribution seeks to clarify how the EU achieved liberalization policy in the postal market. A qualitative study of the decision-making process of the Postal Directive suggests that differential growth, in particular related to time rules in existing legislation that ensure future re-negotiations and concessions that constrain resistance, have contributed to policy change in EU postal services. This occurred under the conditions of instability in the market due to an unclear line between who is allowed to compete where, social norms that made it politically costly to create barriers to further integration and longevity that created desires to put an end to a process.


Differentiation; European integration; Liberalization; Policy change; Postal services
Research Articles
Article Copyright
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
  • Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
  • Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
  • Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.
Further information about archiving and copyright are contained within the JCER Open Access Policy.