Google Research

What is Fair? Exploring Pareto-Efficiency for Fairness Constraint Classifiers

arxiv (2019), pp. 10


The potential for learned models to amplify existing societal biases has been broadly recognized. Fairness-aware classifier constraints, which apply equality metrics of performance across subgroups defined on sensitive attributes such as race and gender, seek to rectify inequity but can yield non-uniform degradation in performance for skewed datasets. In certain domains, imbalanced degradation of performance can yield another form of unintentional bias. In the spirit of constructing fairness-aware algorithms as societal imperative, we explore an alternative: Pareto-Efficient Fairness (PEF). PEF identifies the operating point on the Pareto curve of subgroup performances closest to the fairness hyperplane, maximizing multiple subgroup accuracies. Empirically we demonstrate that PEF increases performance of all subgroups in several UCI datasets.

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