Achieving Equalized Odds by Resampling Sensitive Attributes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Authors

Yaniv Romano, Stephen Bates, Emmanuel Candes

Abstract

<p>We present a flexible framework for learning predictive models that approximately satisfy the equalized odds notion of fairness. This is achieved by introducing a general discrepancy functional that rigorously quantifies violations of this criterion. This differentiable functional is used as a penalty driving the model parameters towards equalized odds. To rigorously evaluate fitted models, we develop a formal hypothesis test to detect whether a prediction rule violates this property, the first such test in the literature. Both the model fitting and hypothesis testing leverage a resampled version of the sensitive attribute obeying equalized odds, by construction. We demonstrate the applicability and validity of the proposed framework both in regression and multi-class classification problems, reporting improved performance over state-of-the-art methods. Lastly, we show how to incorporate techniques for equitable uncertainty quantification---unbiased for each group under study---to communicate the results of the data analysis in exact terms.</p>