Strategic Classification under Unknown Personalized Manipulation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Han Shao, Avrim Blum, Omar Montasser


We study the fundamental mistake bound and sample complexity in the strategic classification, where agents can strategically manipulate their feature vector up to an extent in order to be predicted as positive. For example, given a classifier determining college admission, student candidates may try to take easier classes to improve their GPA, retake SAT and change schools in an effort to fool the classifier. *Ball manipulations* are a widely studied class of manipulations in the literature, where agents can modify their feature vector within a bounded radius ball. Unlike most prior work, our work consider manipulations to be *personalized*, meaning that agents can have different levels of manipulation abilities (e.g., varying radii for ball manipulations), and *unknown* to the learner.We formalize the learning problem in an interaction model where the learner first deploys a classifier and the agent manipulates the feature vector within their manipulation set to game the deployed classifier. We investigate various scenarios in terms of the information available to the learner during the interaction, such as observing the original feature vector before or after deployment, observing the manipulated feature vector, or not seeing either the original or the manipulated feature vector. We begin by providing online mistake bounds and PAC sample complexity in these scenarios for ball manipulations. We also explore non-ball manipulations and show that, even in the simplest scenario where both the original and the manipulated feature vectors are revealed, the mistake bounds and sample complexity are lower bounded by $\Omega(|\mathcal H|)$ when the target function belongs to a known class $\mathcal H$.