Three naive Bayes approaches for discrimination-free classification

T.G.K. Calders, S.E. Verwer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    276 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)


    In this paper, we investigate how to modify the naive Bayes classifier in order to perform classification that is restricted to be independent with respect to a given sensitive attribute. Such independency restrictions occur naturally when the decision process leading to the labels in the data-set was biased; e.g., due to gender or racial discrimination. This setting is motivated by many cases in which there exist laws that disallow a decision that is partly based on discrimination. Naive application of machine learning techniques would result in huge fines for companies. We present three approaches for making the naive Bayes classifier discrimination-free: (i) modifying the probability of the decision being positive, (ii) training one model for every sensitive attribute value and balancing them, and (iii) adding a latent variable to the Bayesian model that represents the unbiased label and optimizing the model parameters for likelihood using expectation maximization. We present experiments for the three approaches on both artificial and real-life data. Keywords: Discrimination-aware classification - Naive Bayes - Expectation maximization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-292
    JournalData Mining and Knowledge Discovery
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    Dive into the research topics of 'Three naive Bayes approaches for discrimination-free classification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this