Learnability Gaps of Strategic Classification


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In contrast with standard classification tasks, strategic classification involves agents strategically modifying their features in an effort to receive favorable predictions. For instance, given a classifier determining loan approval based on credit scores, applicants may open or close their credit cards to fool the classifier. The learning goal is to find a classifier robust against strategic manipulations. Various settings, based on what and when information is known, have been explored in strategic classification. In this work, we focus on addressing a fundamental question: the learnability gaps between strategic classification and standard learning. We essentially show that any learnable class is also strategically learnable: we first consider a fully informative setting, where the manipulation structure (which is modeled by a manipulation graph G^⋆) is known and during training time the learner has access to both the pre-manipulation data and post-manipulation data. We provide nearly tight sample complexity and regret bounds, offering significant improvements over prior results. Then, we relax the fully informative setting by introducing two natural types of uncertainty. First, following Ahmadi et al. (2023), we consider the setting in which the learner only has access to the post-manipulation data. We improve the results of Ahmadi et al. (2023) and close the gap between mistake upper bound and lower bound raised by them. Our second relaxation of the fully informative setting introduces uncertainty to the manipulation structure. That is, we assume that the manipulation graph is unknown but belongs to a known class of graphs. We provide nearly tight bounds on the learning complexity in various unknown manipulation graph settings. Notably, our algorithm in this setting is of independent interest and can be applied to other problems such as multi-label learning.
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