New Publication at KDD 2024

17 May 2024

New paper on "Causal Machine Learning for Cost-Effective Allocation of Development Aid" accepted by ACM KDD Conference 2024.

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The new paper by the AI Researcher Dr. Milan Kuzmanovic, PhD Candidate Dennis Frauen, Prof. Stefan Feuerriegel from our Team and Dr. Tobias Hatt (ETH Zurich), on the topic of Causal Machine Learning for Cost-Effective Allocation of Development Aid has been accepted by the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) 2024.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations provide a blueprint of a better future by 'leaving no one behind', and, to achieve the SDGs by 2030, poor countries require immense volumes of development aid. In this paper, we develop a causal machine learning framework for predicting heterogeneous treatment effects of aid disbursements to inform effective aid allocation. Specifically, our framework comprises three components: (i) a balancing autoencoder that uses representation learning to embed high-dimensional country characteristics while addressing treatment selection bias; (ii) a counterfactual generator to compute counterfactual outcomes for varying aid volumes to address small sample-size settings; and (iii) an inference model that is used to predict heterogeneous treatment-response curves. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework using data with official development aid earmarked to end HIV/AIDS in 105 countries, amounting to more than USD 5.2 billion. For this, we first show that our framework successfully computes heterogeneous treatment-response curves using semi-synthetic data. Then, we demonstrate our framework using real-world HIV data. Our framework points to large opportunities for a more effective aid allocation, sug