Fairness with overlapping groups

Forest Yang, Moustapha Cisse, Sanmi Koyejo

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In algorithmically fair prediction problems, a standard goal is to ensure the equality of fairness metrics across multiple overlapping groups simultaneously. We reconsider this standard fair classification problem using a probabilistic population analysis, which, in turn, reveals the Bayes-optimal classifier. Our approach unifies a variety of existing group-fair classification methods and enables extensions to a wide range of non-decomposable multiclass performance metrics and fairness measures. The Bayes-optimal classifier further inspires consistent procedures for algorithmically fair classification with overlapping groups. On a variety of real datasets, the proposed approach outperforms baselines in terms of its fairness-performance tradeoff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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