Paradoxes in Fair Machine Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Paul Goelz, Anson Kahng, Ariel D. Procaccia


Equalized odds is a statistical notion of fairness in machine learning that ensures that classification algorithms do not discriminate against protected groups. We extend equalized odds to the setting of cardinality-constrained fair classification, where we have a bounded amount of a resource to distribute. This setting coincides with classic fair division problems, which allows us to apply concepts from that literature in parallel to equalized odds. In particular, we consider the axioms of resource monotonicity, consistency, and population monotonicity, all three of which relate different allocation instances to prevent paradoxes. Using a geometric characterization of equalized odds, we examine the compatibility of equalized odds with these axioms. We empirically evaluate the cost of allocation rules that satisfy both equalized odds and axioms of fair division on a dataset of FICO credit scores.