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Fair Bayes-Optimal Classifiers Under Predictive Parity
Xianli Zeng · Edgar Dobriban · Guang Cheng


Increasing concerns about disparate effects of AI have motivated a great deal of work on fair machine learning. Existing works mainly focus on independence- and separation-based measures (e.g., demographic parity, equality of opportunity, equalized odds), while sufficiency-based measures such as predictive parity are much less studied. This paper considers predictive parity, which requires equalizing the probability of success given a positive prediction among different protected groups. We prove that, if the overall performances of different groups vary only moderately, all fair Bayes-optimal classifiers under predictive parity are group-wise thresholding rules. Perhaps surprisingly, this may not hold if group performance levels vary widely; in this case, we find that predictive parity among protected groups may lead to within-group unfairness. We then propose an algorithm we call FairBayes-DPP, aiming to ensure predictive parity when our condition is satisfied. FairBayes-DPP is an adaptive thresholding algorithm that aims to achieve predictive parity, while also seeking to maximize test accuracy. We provide supporting experiments conducted on synthetic and empirical data.

Author Information

Xianli Zeng (Shenzhen Research Institute of Big Data, University of Pennsylvania)
Edgar Dobriban (University of Pennsylvania)
Guang Cheng (University of California, Los Angeles)

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