Journal of Applied Probability

Stein's method for the Beta distribution and the Pólya-Eggenberger urn

Larry Goldstein and Gesine Reinert

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Using a characterizing equation for the beta distribution, Stein's method is applied to obtain bounds of the optimal order for the Wasserstein distance between the distribution of the scaled number of white balls drawn from a Pólya-Eggenberger urn and its limiting beta distribution. The bound is computed by making a direct comparison between characterizing operators of the target and the beta distribution, the former derived by extending Stein's density approach to discrete distributions. In addition, refinements are given to Döbler's (2012) result for the arcsine approximation for the fraction of time a simple random walk of even length spends positive, and so also to the distributions of its last return time to 0 and its first visit to its terminal point, by supplying explicit constants to the present Wasserstein bound and also demonstrating that its rate is of the optimal order.

Article information

J. Appl. Probab., Volume 50, Number 4 (2013), 1187-1205.

First available in Project Euclid: 10 January 2014

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 60F05: Central limit and other weak theorems
Secondary: 62E20: Asymptotic distribution theory 60K99: None of the above, but in this section

Stein's method urn model beta distribution arcsine distribution


Goldstein, Larry; Reinert, Gesine. Stein's method for the Beta distribution and the Pólya-Eggenberger urn. J. Appl. Probab. 50 (2013), no. 4, 1187--1205. doi:10.1239/jap/1389370107.

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