Mode and Edgeworth Expansion for the Ewens Distribution and the Stirling Numbers

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External organisations

  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Faculty of Cybernetics, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


We provide asymptotic expansions for the Stirling numbers of the first kind and, more generally, the Ewens (or Karamata-Stirling) distribution. Based on these expansions, we obtain some new results on the asymptotic properties of the mode and the maximum of the Stirling numbers and the Ewens distribution. For arbitrary > 0 and for all sufficiently large n ∈ N, the unique maximum of the Ewens probability mass function Ln(k) = k ( + 1) · · · ( + n − 1) n k , k = 1, . . . , n, is attained at k = ⌊an⌋ or ⌈an⌉, where an = log n−􀀀′()/􀀀()−1/2. We prove that the mode is the nearest integer to an for a set of n’s of asymptotic density 1, yet this formula is not true for infinitely many n’s.


Original languageEnglish
Article number16.8.8
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Integer Sequences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


  • Stirling number of the first kind, mode of a distribution, asymptotic expansion, Ewens distribution