A Disquieting Lack of Evidence for Disintermediation in a Home-Cleaning Platform
13 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 10, 2022
We study a sample of data from an online platform that matches home cleaners with people who want their homes cleaned. The dataset has a key feature: it reports with high frequency the geographic distances between the cleaners and their appointed residences during both the cleaners' working hours and off hours---viz., anytime the app is open on their phones. For example, we observe 57 and 46 distance snapshots a day for the mean and median cleaner, respectively. We use these distance measurements to test whether the cleaners disintermediate the work, returning to the residences to perform some undisclosed cleanings for which they will not have to pay the platform middleman its cut. We find no evidence of such disintermediation---in fact, we find strong evidence to the contrary. Specifically, we reject the null hypothesis that at least one in 10,000 (cleaner, residence, date) triples without an official cleaning had an unofficial cleaning.
Keywords: platform disintermediation, platform leakage, matching markets
JEL Classification: M50, M54, M13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation