nLab hook-content formula


For disambiguation of content see there.



In combinatorics and representation theory, the hook-content formula expresses the number of semistandard Young tableaux with fixed underlying Young diagram and upper bound on its labels in terms of the “hook lengths” and the “content of boxes” of the underlying diagram.

If the dependency in the “contents” is removed, the formula reduces to the hook length formula that counts standard Young tableaux of the given shape.

Both of these formulas equivalently give dimensions of irreps in representation theory:

hook length formulahook-content formula
number of standard Young tableauxnumber of semistandard Young tableaux
dimension of irreps of Sym(n)dimension of irreps of SL(n)

See at hook length formula for more on this.


Given a Young diagram, the hook at any one of its boxes is the collection of boxes to the right and below that box, and including the box itself. We write “hook\ell hook” for the length of such a hook, i.e. for the number of boxes it contains. Formally:


(hook length)
Let λ=(λ 1λ rows(λ))\lambda = (\lambda_1 \geq \cdots \geq \lambda_{rows(\lambda)}) be a partition/Young diagram. Then for

  • i{1,,rows(λ)}i \in \{1, \cdots, rows(\lambda)\},

  • j{1,,λ i}j \in \{1, \cdots, \lambda_i\}

the hook length at (i,j)(i,j) is

hook(i,j)1+(λ ij)+(λ j1), \ell hook(i,j) \;\coloneqq\; 1 + (\lambda_i - j) + (\lambda'_j - 1) \,,

where λ\lambda' denotes the conjugate partition (see there).

Alongside this terminology one says that

content(i,j)ji content(i,j) \;\coloneqq\; j - i \;\; \in \mathbb{Z}

is the content of the box (i,j)(i,j).

Consider in the following:

  • nn \in \mathbb{N} a natural number;

  • λ=(λ 1λ rows(λ))\lambda = (\lambda_1 \geq \cdots \geq \lambda_{rows(\lambda)}) a partition of nn, iλ i=n\underset{i}{\sum} \lambda_i = n,

    equivalently a Young diagram with nn boxes;

  • N +N \in \mathbb{N}_+ a positive natural number;


  • ssYT λ(N)ssYT_\lambda(N) for the set of semistandard Young tableaux TT

    • of shape (i.e. with underlying Young diagram) λ\lambda,

    • with labels T i,jNT_{i,j} \leq N (i.e. with T i,j{1,,N}T_{i,j} \in \{1, \cdots, N\}).

  • n(T)= i,jT i,jn(T) = \sum_{i,j} T_{i,j} for the sum of all the labels.


Standard hook-content formula


For λ\lambda a partition/Young diagram and N +N \in \mathbb{N}_+, the number |ssYTableaux λ(N)|\left\vert ssYTableaux_\lambda(N)\right\vert of semistandard Young tableaux TT of shape λ\lambda (hence the value of the Schur polynomial s λs_\lambda on NN unit argument) and entries bounded by T i,jNT_{i,j} \leq N is:

|ssYTableaux λ(N)|=s λ(x 1=1,,x N=1)=(i,j)N+content(i,j)hook λ(i,j). \left\vert ssYTableaux_\lambda(N)\right\vert \;=\; s_{\lambda} \big( x_1 \!=\! 1, \cdots, x_N \!=\! 1 \big) \;\; = \;\; \underset{ (i,j) }{\prod} \frac{ N + content(i,j) }{ \ell hook_\lambda(i,j) } \,.

(Stanley 71, Thm. 15.3, Stanley 99, Thm. 7.21.2)

qq-Deformed hook-content formula

With the above ingredients, we have the following equalities of polynomials in a variable qq:

TssYT λ(N)q n(T)=q iiλ ii{1,,rows(λ)}j{1,,λ i}1q N+content(i,j)1q hook(i,j) \underset{ T \in ssYT_\lambda(N) }{\sum} q^{ n(T) } \;\;=\;\; q^{ \sum_i i \cdot \lambda_i } \cdot \!\!\!\!\!\!\! \underset{ { i \in \{1, \cdots, rows(\lambda)\} } \atop {j \in \{1, \cdots, \lambda_i\}} }{\prod} \frac{ 1 - q^{N + content(i,j)} }{ 1 - q^{\ell hook(i,j)} }

(Krattenthaler 98, Thm. 1)



The original statement and proof:

  • Richard Stanley, Theorem 15.3 in: Theory and application of plane partitions 2, Studies in Applied Math. 50 3 (1971), 259-279 (pdf, pdf)


See also:

  • Graham Hawkes, An Elementary Proof of the Hook Content Formula (arXiv:1310.5919)


See also:

  • Mark Wildon, A corollary of Stanley’s Hook Content Formula (arXiv:1904.08904)

Last revised on June 24, 2024 at 04:13:08. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.