A Nonparametric Stochastic Set Model: Identification, Optimization, and Prediction
57 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2023
Date Written: February 8, 2023
The identification of choice models is crucial for understanding consumer behavior and informing marketing or operational strategies, policy design, and product development. The identification of parametric choice-based demand models is typically straightforward. However, nonparametric models, which are highly effective and flexible in explaining customer choice, may encounter the challenge of the dimensionality curse, hindering their identification. A prominent example of a nonparametric model is the ranking-based model, which mirrors the random utility maximization (RUM) class and is known to be nonidentifiable from the collection of choice probabilities alone. Our objective in this paper is to develop a new class of nonparametric models that is not subject to the problem of nonidentifiability. Our model assumes bounded rationality of consumers, which results in symmetric demand cannibalization and intriguingly enables full identification. Additionally, our choice model demonstrates competitive prediction accuracy compared to the state-of-the-art benchmarks in a real-world case study, despite incorporating the assumption of bounded rationality which could, in theory, limit the representation power of our model.
In addition, we tackle the important problem of finding the optimal assortment under the proposed choice model. We demonstrate the NP-hardness of this problem and provide a fully polynomial-time approximation scheme through dynamic programming. Additionally, we propose an efficient estimation framework using a combination of column generation and expectation-maximization algorithms, which proves to be more tractable than the estimation algorithm of the aforementioned ranking-based model.
Keywords: bounded rationality, consideration set, symmetric cannibalization, assortment optimization, FPTAS, case study
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