WeightedSHAP: analyzing and improving Shapley based feature attributions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yongchan Kwon, James Y. Zou


Shapley value is a popular approach for measuring the influence of individual features. While Shapley feature attribution is built upon desiderata from game theory, some of its constraints may be less natural in certain machine learning settings, leading to unintuitive model interpretation. In particular, the Shapley value uses the same weight for all marginal contributions---i.e. it gives the same importance when a large number of other features are given versus when a small number of other features are given. This property can be problematic if larger feature sets are more or less informative than smaller feature sets. Our work performs a rigorous analysis of the potential limitations of Shapley feature attribution. We identify simple settings where the Shapley value is mathematically suboptimal by assigning larger attributions for less influential features. Motivated by this observation, we propose WeightedSHAP, which generalizes the Shapley value and learns which marginal contributions to focus directly from data. On several real-world datasets, we demonstrate that the influential features identified by WeightedSHAP are better able to recapitulate the model's predictions compared to the features identified by the Shapley value.