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On the Validity of Using Webpage Texts to Identify the Target Population of a Survey: An Application to Detect Online Platforms


  • Daas, Piet

    (Eindhoven University of Technology)

  • Hassink, Wolter

    (Utrecht University)

  • Klijs, Bart

    (Statistics Netherlands)


A statistical classification model was developed to identify online platform organizations based on the texts on their website. The model was subsequently used to identify all (potential) platform organizations with a website included in the Dutch Business Register. The empirical outcomes of the statistical model were plausible in terms of the words and the bimodal distribution of fitted probabilities, but the results indicated an overestimation of the number of platform organizations. Next, the external validity of the outcomes was investigated through a survey held under the organizations that were identified as a platform organization by the statistical classification model. The response by the organizations to the survey confirmed a substantial number of type-I errors. Furthermore, it revealed a positive association between the fitted probability of the text-based classification model and the organization's response to the survey question on being an online platform organization. The survey results indicated that the text-based classification model can be used to obtain a subpopulation of potential platform organizations from the entire population of businesses with a website.

Suggested Citation

  • Daas, Piet & Hassink, Wolter & Klijs, Bart, 2023. "On the Validity of Using Webpage Texts to Identify the Target Population of a Survey: An Application to Detect Online Platforms," IZA Discussion Papers 15941, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15941

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sutherland, Will & Jarrahi, Mohammad Hossein, 2018. "The sharing economy and digital platforms: A review and research agenda," International Journal of Information Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 328-341.
    2. Ducci,Francesco, 2020. "Natural Monopolies in Digital Platform Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781108491143, November.
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    More about this item


    online platform organizations; external validation; type-I error; machine learning; web pages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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