Behaviour Policy Estimation in Off-Policy Policy Evaluation: Calibration Matters

In this work, we consider the problem of estimating a behaviour policy for use in Off-Policy Policy Evaluation (OPE) when the true behaviour policy is unknown. Via a series of empirical studies, we demonstrate how accurate OPE is strongly dependent on the calibration of estimated behaviour policy models: how precisely the behaviour policy is estimated from data. We show how powerful parametric models such as neural networks can result in highly uncalibrated behaviour policy models on a real-world medical dataset, and illustrate how a simple, non-parametric, k-nearest neighbours model produces better calibrated behaviour policy estimates and can be used to obtain superior importance sampling-based OPE estimates.

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