The challenges of machine learning and their economic implications

Pol Borrellas, Irene Unceta

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The deployment of machine learning models is expected to bring several benefits. Nevertheless, as a result of the complexity of the ecosystem in which models are generally trained and deployed, this technology also raises concerns regarding its (1) interpretability, (2) fairness, (3) safety, and (4) privacy. These issues can have substantial economic implications because they may hinder the development and mass adoption of machine learning. In light of this, the purpose of this paper was to determine, from a positive economics point of view, whether the free use of machine learning models maximizes aggregate social welfare or, alternatively, regulations are required. In cases in which restrictions should be enacted, policies are proposed. The adaptation of current tort and anti-discrimination laws is found to guarantee an optimal level of interpretability and fairness. Additionally, existing market solutions appear to incentivize machine learning operators to equip models with a degree of security and privacy that maximizes aggregate social welfare. These findings are expected to be valuable to inform the design of efficient public policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number275
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • AI regulation
  • Algorithmic accountability
  • Machine learning
  • Welfare economics


Dive into the research topics of 'The challenges of machine learning and their economic implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this