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# Semi-Parametric Contextual Pricing Algorithm using Cox Proportional Hazards Model

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:5771-5786, 2023.

#### Abstract

Contextual dynamic pricing is a problem of setting prices based on current contextual information and previous sales history to maximize revenue. A popular approach is to postulate a distribution of customer valuation as a function of contextual information and the baseline valuation. A semi-parametric setting, where the context effect is parametric and the baseline is nonparametric, is of growing interest due to its flexibility. A challenge is that customer valuation is almost never observable in practice and is instead

*type-I interval censored*by the offered price. To address this challenge, we propose a novel semi-parametric contextual pricing algorithm for stochastic contexts, called the epoch-based Cox proportional hazards Contextual Pricing (CoxCP) algorithm. To our best knowledge, our work is the first to employ the Cox model for customer valuation. The CoxCP algorithm has a high-probability regret upper bound of $\tilde{O}( T^{\frac{2}{3}}d )$, where $T$ is the length of horizon and $d$ is the dimension of context. In addition, if the baseline is known, the regret bound can improve to $O( d \log T )$ under certain assumptions. We demonstrate empirically the proposed algorithm performs better than existing semi-parametric contextual pricing algorithms when the model assumptions of all algorithms are correct.