Adaptive Experimental Design for Efficient Treatment Effect Estimation: Randomized Allocation via Contextual Bandit Algorithm

02/13/2020 ∙ by Masahiro Kato, et al. ∙ 0

Many scientific experiments have an interest in the estimation of the average treatment effect (ATE), which is defined as the difference between the expected outcomes of two or more treatments. In this paper, we consider a situation called adaptive experimental design where research subjects sequentially visit a researcher, and the researcher assigns a treatment. For estimating the ATE efficiently, we consider changing the probability of assigning a treatment at a period by using past information obtained until the period. However, in this approach, it is difficult to apply the standard statistical method to construct an estimator because the observations are not independent and identically distributed. In this paper, to construct an efficient estimator, we overcome this conventional problem by using an algorithm of the multi-armed bandit problem and the theory of martingale. In the proposed method, we use the probability of assigning a treatment that minimizes the asymptotic variance of an estimator of the ATE. We also elucidate the theoretical properties of an estimator obtained from the proposed algorithm for both infinite and finite samples. Finally, we experimentally show that the proposed algorithm outperforms the standard RCT in some cases.



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