COVID-19 impact: Customised economic stimulus package recommender system using machine learning techniques


Kannan, Rathimala and Wang, Ivan Zhi Wei and Ong, Hway Boon and Ramakrishnan, Kannan and Alamsyah, Andry (2021) COVID-19 impact: Customised economic stimulus package recommender system using machine learning techniques. F1000Research, 10. p. 932. ISSN 2046-1402

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The Malaysian government reacted to the pandemic’s economic effect with the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) to cushion the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) impact on households. The ESP consists of cash assistance, utility discount, moratorium, Employee Provident Fund (EPF) cash withdrawals, credit guarantee scheme and wage subsidies. A survey carried out by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) shows that households prefer different types of financial assistance. These preferences forge the need to effectively customise ESPs to manage the economic burden among low-income households. In this study, a recommender system for such ESPs was designed by leveraging data analytics and machine learning techniques. Methods: This study used a dataset from DOSM titled “Effects of COVID-19 on the Economy and Individual - Round 2,” collected from April 10 to April 24, 2020. Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining was followed to develop machine learning models to classify ESP receivers according to their preferred subsidies types. Four machine learning techniques—Decision Tree, Gradient Boosted Tree, Random Forest and Naïve Bayes—were used to build the predictive models for each moratorium, utility discount and EPF and Private Remuneration Scheme (PRS) cash withdrawals subsidies. The best predictive model was selected based on F-score metrics. Results: Among the four machine learning techniques, Gradient Boosted Tree outperformed the rest. This technique predicted the following: moratorium preferences with 93.8% sensitivity, 82.1% precision and 87.6% F-score; utilities discount with 86% sensitivity, 82.1% precision and 84% F-score; and EPF and PRS with 83.6% sensitivity, 81.2% precision and 82.4% F-score. Households that prefer moratorium subsidies did not favour other financial aids except for cash assistance. Conclusion: Findings present machine learning models that can predict individual household preferences from ESP. These models can be used to design customised ESPs that can effectively manage the financial burden of low-income households.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19, low-income households, economic stimulus package, customisation, data analytics, machine learning, Gradient Boosted Tree
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General) > Q300-390 Cybernetics
Divisions: Faculty of Computing and Informatics (FCI)
Faculty of Management (FOM)
Depositing User: Ms Nurul Iqtiani Ahmad
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2022 08:33
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 08:33


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