
We carry out a systematic study of the renormalization properties of the integral equation that determines the momentum evolution of the effective gluon mass in pure YangMills theory, without quark effects taken into account. A detailed, allorder analysis of the complete kernel appearing in this particular equation, derived in the Landau gauge, reveals that the renormalization procedure may be accomplished through the sole use of ingredients known from the standard perturbative treatment of the theory, with no additional assumptions. However, the subtle interplay of terms operating at the level of the exact equation gets distorted by the approximations usually employed when evaluating the aforementioned kernel. This fact is reflected in the form of the obtained solutions, for which the deviations from the correct behavior are best quantified by resorting to appropriately defined renormalizationgroup invariant quantities. This analysis, in turn, provides a solid guiding principle for improving the form of the kernel, and furnishes a welldefined criterion for discriminating between various possibilities. Certain renormalizationgroup inspired Ansätze for the kernel are then proposed, and their numerical implications are explored in detail. One of the solutions obtained fulfills the theoretical expectations to a high degree of accuracy, yielding a gluon mass that is positive definite throughout the entire range of physical momenta, and displays in the ultraviolet the socalled 'powerlaw' running, in agreement with standard arguments based on the operator product expansion. Some of the technical difficulties thwarting a more rigorous determination of the kernel are discussed, and possible future directions are briefly mentioned.
