Adaptive Instrument Design for Indirect Experiments

5 Dec 2023  ·  Yash Chandak, Shiv Shankar, Vasilis Syrgkanis, Emma Brunskill ·

Indirect experiments provide a valuable framework for estimating treatment effects in situations where conducting randomized control trials (RCTs) is impractical or unethical. Unlike RCTs, indirect experiments estimate treatment effects by leveraging (conditional) instrumental variables, enabling estimation through encouragement and recommendation rather than strict treatment assignment. However, the sample efficiency of such estimators depends not only on the inherent variability in outcomes but also on the varying compliance levels of users with the instrumental variables and the choice of estimator being used, especially when dealing with numerous instrumental variables. While adaptive experiment design has a rich literature for direct experiments, in this paper we take the initial steps towards enhancing sample efficiency for indirect experiments by adaptively designing a data collection policy over instrumental variables. Our main contribution is a practical computational procedure that utilizes influence functions to search for an optimal data collection policy, minimizing the mean-squared error of the desired (non-linear) estimator. Through experiments conducted in various domains inspired by real-world applications, we showcase how our method can significantly improve the sample efficiency of indirect experiments.

PDF Abstract
No code implementations yet. Submit your code now



  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.


No methods listed for this paper. Add relevant methods here