Policy Targeting under Network Interference

06/24/2019
by   Davide Viviano, et al.
0

The empirical analysis of experiments and quasi-experiments often seeks to determine the optimal allocation of treatments that maximizes social welfare. In the presence of interference, spillover effects lead to a new formulation of the statistical treatment choice problem. This paper develops a novel method to construct individual-specific optimal treatment allocation rules under network interference. Several features make the proposed methodology particularly appealing for applications: we construct targeting rules that depend on an arbitrary set of individual, neighbors' and network characteristics, and we allow for general constraints on the policy function; we consider heterogeneous direct and spillover effects, arbitrary, possibly non-linear, regression models, and we propose estimators that are robust to model misspecification; the method flexibly accommodates for cases where researchers only observe local information of the network. From a theoretical perspective, we establish the first set of guarantees on the utilitarian regret under interference, and we show that it achieves the min-max optimal rate in scenarios of practical and theoretical interest. We discuss the empirical performance in simulations and we illustrate our method by investigating the role of social networks in micro-finance decisions.

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