Reinforcement learning algorithms describe how an agent can learn an optimal action policy in a sequential decision process, through repeated experience. In a given environment, the agent policy provides him some running and terminal rewards. As in online learning, the agent learns sequentially. As in multi-armed bandit problems, when an agent picks an action, he can not infer ex-post the rewards induced by other action choices. In reinforcement learning, his actions have consequences: they influence not only rewards, but also future states of the world. The goal of reinforcement learning is to find an optimal policy — a mapping from the states of the world to the set of actions, in order to maximize cumulative reward, which is a long term strategy. Exploring might be sub-optimal on a short-term horizon but could lead to optimal long-term ones. Many problems of optimal control, popular in economics for more than forty years, can be expressed in the reinforcement learning framework, and recent advances in computational science, provided in particular by deep learning algorithms, can be used by economists in order to solve complex behavioral problems. In this article, we propose a state-of-the-art of reinforcement learning techniques, and present applications in economics, game theory, operation research and finance.
With Arthur David and Romuald Elie, we just wrote a short paper on bonus malus, and optimal strategies to claim a loss (or not)
In this paper, we investigate the impact of the claim reporting strategy of drivers, within a bonus malus system. We exhibit the induced modification of the corresponding class level transition matrix and derive the optimal reporting strategy for rational drivers. The hunger for bonuses induces optimal thresholds under which, drivers do not claim their losses. A numerical algorithm is provided for computing such thresholds and realistic numerical applications are discussed.
Note that we do not discuss here legal issues here (in some contracts, it is compulsory to claim all losses, even small ones), but economic incentives and mathematical issues. Some popular journals in France did mention that issue, of non claims small losses (see http://leparticulier.fr/) but in those standard computations (see below), it is based on some naive model that we improve in our paper,
L’article Segmentation et Mutualisation, les deux faces d’une même pièce, coécrit avec Michel Denuit et Romuald Elie paraîtra dans les jours à venir, dans un numéro autour du big data en assurance, avec des articles de Patrick Thourot, sur la tarification du pay as you drive, de Lucie Taleyson, sur la tarification dans les assurances collectives, et tout plein d’articles passionnants, signés François-Xavier Hay ou encore Arnaud Chaput.
L’article (disponible en pdf) présente l’impact de la segmentation dans un environnement concurrentiel. Il d’un exemple simple, pour ne pas dire simpliste. Il sera perfectionné avec le pricing game organisé mi novembre. A suivre donc…
L’assurance repose fondamentalement sur l’idée que la mutualisation des risques entre des assurés est possible. Cette mutualisation, qui peut être vue comme une relecture actuarielle de la loi des grands nombres, n’ayant de sens qu’au sein d’une population de risques « homogènes » (Charpentier ). Cette condition (actuarielle) impose aux assureurs de segmenter, ce que confirment plusieurs travaux économiques. Avec l’explosion du nombre de données, et donc de possibles variables tarifaires, certains assureurs évoquent l’idée d’un tarif individuel, semblant remettre en cause l’idée même de mutualisation des risques. Entre cette force qui pousse à segmenter et la force de rappel qui tend (pour des raisons sociales mais aussi actuarielles – ou au moins de robustesse statistique) à imposer une solidarité minimale entre les assurés, quel équilibre va en résulter, dans un contexte de concurrence fort entre les compagnies d’assurance ?
Tomorrow morning, I will be giving a talk at Mont Tremblant, for the Journées de la Société Canadienne de Sciences Economiques. I will present a joint work – in progress – with Nathalie Colombier and Romuald Elie. Since the working paper is not online yet, I will wait a little bit before uploading the slides. But they will be online, someday (hopefully soon)…
“An important aspect of the strategy of most organizations is the provision of incentives to the employees to meet the organization’s objectives. Typically this implies tying pay to performance (see Prendergast, 1999). In order to reward employees for their effort, ﬁrms spend considerable resources on performance evaluations. In many cases, evaluation consists of comparing actual performance to a pre-deﬁned individual target. Another frequently used format is relative performance evaluation. Relative performance evaluation may motivate employees to work harder.But it may also be demoralizing and create an excessively competitive workplace, which may hinder overall performance; see Lazear (1989). Determining the overall impact of relative performance evaluation is crucial for companies. Economic research on relative performance evaluation has mainly focused on the comparison of ﬁnal performances between competitors,like in tournament theory, and on quantitative and subjective performance ratings (Lazear and Gibbs, 2009). In contrast, what happens during a competition and the impact of feedback frequency on effort have so far received little attention. Following Berger and Pope (2011), we decided to use a basketball application to get a better understanding of the role of the feedback information. Sports datasets allow to observe score and team behavior continuously (during a game but also during the season) which can be use as a proxy of the effort. Berger an Pope (2010) asked ”can loosing lead to winning ?” looking at the impact of the halftime score difference on winning probability in NCAA (college) and NBA(pro) games. More precisely, they studied whether a team loosing at halftime is more likely to win than expected using a logit model. They ﬁnd that usually the higher the score difference the more likely the are to win. But if the halftime score difference is around 0 they observe a discontinuity: loosing with a small difference (e.g. down by 1 point) can lead to increase the effort and win the game. In this paper we try answer the question ”when loosing lead to winning ?”.“