Document Type


Publication Title



Fairness of machine learning algorithms has been of increasing interest. In order to suppress or eliminate discrimination in prediction, various notions as well as approaches have been proposed to impose fairness. Given a notion of fairness, an essential problem is then whether or not it can always be attained, even if with an unlimited amount of data. This issue is, however, not well addressed yet. In this paper, focusing on the Equalized Odds notion of fairness, we consider the attainability of this criterion and, furthermore, if it is attainable, the optimality of the prediction performance under various settings. In particular, for prediction performed by a deterministic function of input features, we give conditions under which Equalized Odds can hold true; if the stochastic prediction is acceptable, we show that under mild assumptions, fair predictors can always be derived. For classification, we further prove that compared to enforcing fairness by post-processing, one can always benefit from exploiting all available features during training and get potentially better prediction performance while remaining fair. Moreover, while stochastic prediction can attain Equalized Odds with theoretical guarantees, we also discuss its limitation and potential negative social impacts. © 2022, CC BY.



Publication Date



Algorithmic fairness; Attainability; Conditional independence; Equalized odds; Optimality


Preprint: arXiv

  • Archived with thanks to arXiv
  • Preprint License: CC by 4.0
  • Uploaded 24 March 2022