Understanding and Mitigating Accuracy Disparity in RegressionDownload PDF

Sep 28, 2020 (edited Mar 05, 2021)ICLR 2021 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Reviewed Version (pdf): https://openreview.net/references/pdf?id=kjdU1NM68v
  • Keywords: Algorithmic Fairness, Representation Learning
  • Abstract: With the widespread deployment of large-scale prediction systems in high-stakes domains, e.g., face recognition, criminal justice, etc., disparity on prediction accuracy between different demographic subgroups has called for fundamental understanding on the source of such disparity and algorithmic intervention to mitigate it. In this paper, we study the accuracy disparity problem in regression. To begin with, we first propose an error decomposition theorem, which decomposes the accuracy disparity into the distance between label populations and the distance between conditional representations, to help explain why such accuracy disparity appears in practice. Motivated by this error decomposition and the general idea of distribution alignment with statistical distances, we then propose an algorithm to reduce this disparity, and analyze its game-theoretic optima of the proposed objective function. We conduct experiments on four real-world datasets. The experimental results suggest that our proposed algorithms can effectively mitigate accuracy disparity while maintaining the predictive power of the regression models.
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