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Path-Specific Discrimination

Weinberger, Naftali (2022) Path-Specific Discrimination. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The distinction between direct and indirect effects plays an increasingly prominent role in studies of discrimination, algorithmic fairness, and measuring disparities. This paper clarifies the interpretation of such effects within the context of non-parametric mediation methods. These
effects should not be understood as decomposing the total effect into the independent contributions of direct and indirect paths, but instead concern the result of allowing a change in the causal variable to be transmitted via some causal paths and not others. Given this, distinct changes in
the sensitive attribute (e.g. from black to white vs. from white to black) correspond to distinct effects, and talk of a path’s “contribution” is therefore ambiguous. I consider some implications of this change-relativity for discussions of discrimination and fairness and further highlight a neglected substantive question regarding whether discrimination is linked to paths or to path-specific effects.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weinberger, Naftalinaftali.weinberger@gmail.com
Keywords: Causation, Discrimination, Mediation, Measurement, Race
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence > AI and Ethics
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Depositing User: Mr. Naftali Weinberger
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2022 13:22
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 13:22
Item ID: 21346
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence > AI and Ethics
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Date: 1 November 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21346

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