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Workshop: Algorithmic Fairness through the Lens of Causality and Privacy

Equality of Effort via Algorithmic Recourse

Francesca Raimondi · Andrew Lawrence · Hana Chockler


This paper proposes a novel way of measuring fairness through equality of effort by applying algorithmic recourse through minimal interventions. Equality of effort is a property that can be quantified at both the individual and the group level. It answers the counterfactual question: what is the minimal cost for a protected individual or the average minimal cost for a protected group of individuals to reverse the outcome computed by an automated system? Algorithmic recourse increases the flexibility and applicability of the notion of equal effort: it overcomes its previous limitations by reconciling multiple treatment variables, introducing feasibility and plausibility constraints, and integrating the actual relative costs of interventions. We extend the existing definition of equality of effort and present an algorithm for its assessment via algorithmic recourse. We validate our approach both on synthetic data and on the German credit dataset.

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