It has become increasingly common for data to be collected adaptively, for example using contextual bandits. Historical data of this type can be used to evaluate other treatment assignment policies to guide future innovation or experiments. However, policy evaluation is challenging if the target policy differs from the one used to collect data, and popular estimators, including doubly robust (DR) estimators, can be plagued by bias, excessive variance, or both. In particular, when the pattern of treatment assignment in the collected data looks little like the pattern generated by the policy to be evaluated, the importance weights used in DR estimators explode, leading to excessive variance.
In this paper, we improve the DR estimator by adaptively weighting observations to control its variance. We show that a t-statistic based on our improved estimator is asymptotically normal under certain conditions, allowing us to form confidence intervals and test hypotheses. Using synthetic data and public benchmarks, we provide empirical evidence for our estimator’s improved accuracy and inferential properties relative to existing alternatives.