Migration as Submodular Optimization
Migration presents sweeping societal challenges that have recently attracted significant attention from the scientific community. One of the prominent approaches that have been suggested employs optimization and machine learning to match migrants to localities in a way that maximizes the expected number of migrants who find employment. However, it relies on a strong additivity assumption that, we argue, does not hold in practice, due to competition effects; we propose to enhance the data-driven approach by explicitly optimizing for these effects. Specifically, we cast our problem as the maximization of an approximately submodular function subject to matroid constraints, and prove that the worst-case guarantees given by the classic greedy algorithm extend to this setting. We then present three different models for competition effects, and show that they all give rise to submodular objectives. Finally, we demonstrate via simulations that our approach leads to significant gains across the board.