Equal Opportunity of Coverage in Fair Regression

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Fangxin Wang, Lu Cheng, Ruocheng Guo, Kay Liu, Philip S Yu


We study fair machine learning (ML) under predictive uncertainty to enable reliable and trustworthy decision-making. The seminal work of 'equalized coverage' proposed an uncertainty-aware fairness notion. However, it does not guarantee equal coverage rates across more fine-grained groups (e.g., low-income females) conditioning on the true label and is biased in the assessment of uncertainty. To tackle these limitations, we propose a new uncertainty-aware fairness -- Equal Opportunity of Coverage (EOC) -- that aims to achieve two properties: (1) coverage rates for different groups with similar outcomes are close, and (2) the coverage rate for the entire population remains at a predetermined level. Further, the prediction intervals should be narrow to be informative. We propose Binned Fair Quantile Regression (BFQR), a distribution-free post-processing method to improve EOC with reasonable width for any trained ML models. It first calibrates a hold-out set to bound deviation from EOC, then leverages conformal prediction to maintain EOC on a test set, meanwhile optimizing prediction interval width. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in improving EOC.