Neural modeling of ranking data with an application to stated preference data

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Working paper
Catherine Krier, Michel Mouchart and Abderrahim Oulhaj
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Although neural networks are commonly encountered to solve classification problems, ranking data present specificities which require adapting the model. Based on a latent utility function defined on the characteristics of the objects to be ranked, the approach suggested in this paper leads to a perceptron-based algorithm for a highly non linear model. Data on stated preferences obtained through a survey by face-to-face interviews, in the field of freight transport, are used to illustrate the method. Numerical difficulties are pinpointed and a Pocket type algorithm is shown to provide an efficient heuristic to minimize the discrete error criterion. A substantial merit of this approach is to provide a workable estimation of contextually interpretable parameters along with a statistical evaluation of the goodness of fit.
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