## Abstract

It is well known that the sum S of n independent gamma variables-which occurs often, in particular in practical applications-can typically be well approximated by a single gamma variable with the same mean and variance (the distribution of S being quite complicated in general). In this paper, we propose an alternative (and apparently at least as good) single-gamma approximation to S. The methodology used to derive it is based on the observation that the jump density of S bears an evident similarity to that of a generic gamma variable, S being viewed as a sum of n independent gamma processes evaluated at time 1. This observation motivates the idea of a gamma approximation to S in the first place, and, in principle, a variety of such approximations can be made based on it. The same methodology can be applied to obtain gamma approximations to a wide variety of important infinitely divisible distributions on ℝ_{+} or at least predict/confirm the appropriateness of the moment-matching method (where the first two moments are matched); this is demonstrated neatly in the cases of negative binomial and generalized Dickman distributions, thus highlighting the paper's contribution to the overall topic.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 894-926 |

Number of pages | 33 |

Journal | Electronic Journal of Statistics |

Volume | 8 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 2014 |

## Keywords

- Approximation
- Gamma process
- Generalized Dickman distribution
- Infinitely divisible distributions
- Lévy measure
- Moment-matching method
- Negative binomial distribution
- Sum of independent gamma variables

## All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

- Statistics and Probability
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty