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  1. We present a stylized model with feedback loops for the evolution of a population's wealth over generations. Individuals have both talent and wealth: talent is a random variable distributed identically for everyone, but wealth is a random variable that is dependent on the population one is born into. Individuals then apply to a downstream agent, which we treat as a university throughout the paper (but could also represent an employer) who makes a decision about whether to admit them or not. The university does not directly observe talent or wealth, but rather a signal (representing e.g. a standardized test) that is a convex combination of both. The university knows the distributions from which an individual's type and wealth are drawn, and makes its decisions based on the posterior distribution of the applicant's characteristics conditional on their population and signal. Each population's wealth distribution at the next round then depends on the fraction of that population that was admitted by the university at the previous round. We study wealth dynamics in this model, and give conditions under which the dynamics have a single attracting fixed point (which implies population wealth inequality is transitory), and conditions under which it can have multiplemore »attracting fixed points (which implies that population wealth inequality can be persistent). In the case in which there are multiple attracting fixed points, we study interventions aimed at eliminating or mitigating inequality, including increasing the capacity of the university to admit more people, aligning the signal generated by individuals with the preferences of the university, and making direct monetary transfers to the less wealthy population.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. We develop fast distribution-free conformal prediction algorithms for obtaining multivalid coverage on exchangeable data in the batch setting. Multivalid coverage guarantees are stronger than marginal coverage guarantees in two ways: (1) They hold even conditional on group membership---that is, the target coverage level holds conditionally on membership in each of an arbitrary (potentially intersecting) group in a finite collection of regions in the feature space. (2) They hold even conditional on the value of the threshold used to produce the prediction set on a given example. In fact multivalid coverage guarantees hold even when conditioning on group membership and threshold value simultaneously. We give two algorithms: both take as input an arbitrary non-conformity score and an arbitrary collection of possibly intersecting groups , and then can equip arbitrary black-box predictors with prediction sets. Our first algorithm is a direct extension of quantile regression, needs to solve only a single convex minimization problem, and produces an estimator which has group-conditional guarantees for each group in . Our second algorithm is iterative, and gives the full guarantees of multivalid conformal prediction: prediction sets that are valid conditionally both on group membership and non-conformity threshold. We evaluate the performance of both of ourmore »algorithms in an extensive set of experiments.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  3. We study the connection between multicalibration and boosting for squared error regression. First we prove a useful characterization of multicalibration in terms of a ``swap regret'' like condition on squared error. Using this characterization, we give an exceedingly simple algorithm that can be analyzed both as a boosting algorithm for regression and as a multicalibration algorithm for a class H that makes use only of a standard squared error regression oracle for H. We give a weak learning assumption on H that ensures convergence to Bayes optimality without the need to make any realizability assumptions -- giving us an agnostic boosting algorithm for regression. We then show that our weak learning assumption on H is both necessary and sufficient for multicalibration with respect to H to imply Bayes optimality. We also show that if H satisfies our weak learning condition relative to another class C then multicalibration with respect to H implies multicalibration with respect to C. Finally we investigate the empirical performance of our algorithm experimentally using an open source implementation that we make available.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  4. We consider an online learning problem with one-sided feedback, in which the learner is able to observe the true label only for positively predicted instances. On each round, k instances arrive and receive classification outcomes according to a randomized policy deployed by the learner, whose goal is to maximize accuracy while deploying individually fair policies. We first extend the framework of Bechavod et al. (2020), which relies on the existence of a human fairness auditor for detecting fairness violations, to instead incorporate feedback from dynamically-selected panels of multiple, possibly inconsistent, auditors. We then construct an efficient reduction from our problem of online learning with one-sided feedback and a panel reporting fairness violations to the contextual combinatorial semi-bandit problem (Cesa-Bianchi & Lugosi, 2009, György et al., 2007). Finally, we show how to leverage the guarantees of two algorithms in the contextual combinatorial semi-bandit setting: Exp2 (Bubeck et al., 2012) and the oracle-efficient Context-Semi-Bandit-FTPL (Syrgkanis et al., 2016), to provide multi-criteria no regret guarantees simultaneously for accuracy and fairness. Our results eliminate two potential sources of bias from prior work: the "hidden outcomes" that are not available to an algorithm operating in the full information setting, and human biases that might bemore »present in any single human auditor, but can be mitigated by selecting a well chosen panel.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  5. We study a game theoretic model of standardized testing for college admissions. Students are of two types; High and Low. There is a college that would like to admit the High type students. Students take a potentially costly standardized exam which provides a noisy signal of their type. The students come from two populations, which are identical in talent (i.e. the type distribution is the same), but differ in their access to resources: the higher resourced population can at their option take the exam multiple times, whereas the lower resourced population can only take the exam once. We study two models of score reporting, which capture existing policies used by colleges. The first policy (sometimes known as "super-scoring") allows students to report the max of the scores they achieve. The other policy requires that all scores be reported. We find in our model that requiring that all scores be reported results in superior outcomes in equilibrium, both from the perspective of the college (the admissions rule is more accurate), and from the perspective of equity across populations: a student's probability of admission is independent of their population, conditional on their type. In particular, the false positive rates and false negativemore »rates are identical in this setting, across the highly and poorly resourced student populations. This is the case despite the fact that the more highly resourced students can -- at their option -- either report a more accurate signal of their type, or pool with the lower resourced population under this policy.« less
  6. We present a general, efficient technique for providing contextual predictions that are "multivalid" in various senses, against an online sequence of adversarially chosen examples (x,y). This means that the resulting estimates correctly predict various statistics of the labels y not just marginally --- as averaged over the sequence of examples --- but also conditionally on x in G for any G belonging to an arbitrary intersecting collection of groups. We provide three instantiations of this framework. The first is mean prediction, which corresponds to an online algorithm satisfying the notion of multicalibration from Hebert-Johnson et al. The second is variance and higher moment prediction, which corresponds to an online algorithm satisfying the notion of mean-conditioned moment multicalibration from Jung et al. Finally, we define a new notion of prediction interval multivalidity, and give an algorithm for finding prediction intervals which satisfy it. Because our algorithms handle adversarially chosen examples, they can equally well be used to predict statistics of the residuals of arbitrary point prediction methods, giving rise to very general techniques for quantifying the uncertainty of predictions of black box algorithms, even in an online adversarial setting. When instantiated for prediction intervals, this solves a similar problem as conformalmore »prediction, but in an adversarial environment and with multivalidity guarantees stronger than simple marginal coverage guarantees.« less
  7. We introduce a simple but general online learning framework in which a learner plays against an adversary in a vector-valued game that changes every round. Even though the learner's objective is not convex-concave (and so the minimax theorem does not apply), we give a simple algorithm that can compete with the setting in which the adversary must announce their action first, with optimally diminishing regret. We demonstrate the power of our framework by using it to (re)derive optimal bounds and efficient algorithms across a variety of domains, ranging from multicalibration to a large set of no-regret algorithms, to a variant of Blackwell's approachability theorem for polytopes with fast convergence rates. As a new application, we show how to (multi)calibeat'' an arbitrary collection of forecasters --- achieving an exponentially improved dependence on the number of models we are competing against, compared to prior work.
  8. We give a simple, generic conformal prediction method for sequential prediction that achieves target empirical coverage guarantees against adversarially chosen data. It is computationally lightweight -- comparable to split conformal prediction -- but does not require having a held-out validation set, and so all data can be used for training models from which to derive a conformal score. It gives stronger than marginal coverage guarantees in two ways. First, it gives threshold calibrated prediction sets that have correct empirical coverage even conditional on the threshold used to form the prediction set from the conformal score. Second, the user can specify an arbitrary collection of subsets of the feature space -- possibly intersecting -- and the coverage guarantees also hold conditional on membership in each of these subsets. We call our algorithm MVP, short for MultiValid Prediction. We give both theory and an extensive set of empirical evaluations.
  9. We show how to achieve the notion of "multicalibration" from Hébert-Johnson et al. [2018] not just for means, but also for variances and other higher moments. Informally, it means that we can find regression functions which, given a data point, can make point predictions not just for the expectation of its label, but for higher moments of its label distribution as well-and those predictions match the true distribution quantities when averaged not just over the population as a whole, but also when averaged over an enormous number of finely defined subgroups. It yields a principled way to estimate the uncertainty of predictions on many different subgroups-and to diagnose potential sources of unfairness in the predictive power of features across subgroups. As an application, we show that our moment estimates can be used to derive marginal prediction intervals that are simultaneously valid as averaged over all of the (sufficiently large) subgroups for which moment multicalibration has been obtained.
  10. We consider a variation on the classical finance problem of optimal portfolio design. In our setting, a large population of consumers is drawn from some distribution over risk tolerances, and each consumer must be assigned to a portfolio of lower risk than her tolerance. The consumers may also belong to underlying groups (for instance, of demographic properties or wealth), and the goal is to design a small number of portfolios that are fair across groups in a particular and natural technical sense. Our main results are algorithms for optimal and near-optimal portfolio design for both social welfare and fairness objectives, both with and without assumptions on the underlying group structure. We describe an efficient algorithm based on an internal two-player zero-sum game that learns near-optimal fair portfolios ex ante and show experimentally that it can be used to obtain a small set of fair portfolios ex post as well. For the special but natural case in which group structure coincides with risk tolerances (which models the reality that wealthy consumers generally tolerate greater risk), we give an efficient and optimal fair algorithm. We also provide generalization guarantees for the underlying risk distribution that has no dependence on the number ofmore »portfolios and illustrate the theory with simulation results.« less