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Interpreting Implied Risk-Neutral Densities: The Role of Risk Premia

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  • Peter Hördahl
  • David Vestin

Abstract

This paper examines differences between risk-neutral and objective probability densities of future interest rates. The identification and quantification of these differences are important when risk-neutral densities (RNDs), such as option-implied RNDs, are used as indicators of actual beliefs of investors. We employ a multi-factor essentially affine modeling framework applied to German time-series and cross-section term structure data in order to identify both the risk-neutral and the objective term structure dynamics. We find important differences between risk-neutral and objective distributions due to risk premia in bond prices. Moreover, the estimated premia vary over time in a quantitatively significant way, which implies that the differences between the objective and the risk-neutral distributions also vary over time. We therefore conclude that one should be cautious in interpreting RNDs in terms of expectations. The method used in this paper provides an alternative approach to identifying objective probabilities of future interest rates.

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  • Peter Hördahl & David Vestin, 2005. "Interpreting Implied Risk-Neutral Densities: The Role of Risk Premia," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 9(1), pages 97-137.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:9:y:2005:i:1:p:97-137.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10679-005-2989-7
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Hördahl & David Vestin, 2005. "Interpreting Implied Risk-Neutral Densities: The Role of Risk Premia," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 97-137, March.
    2. Jukka Sihvonen & Sami Vähämaa, 2014. "Forward‐Looking Monetary Policy Rules and Option‐Implied Interest Rate Expectations," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(4), pages 346-373, April.
    3. Ascari, Guido & Rankin, Neil, 2007. "Perpetual youth and endogenous labor supply: A problem and a possible solution," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 708-723, December.
    4. Ma, Zong-Gang & Ma, Chao-Qun, 2013. "Pricing catastrophe risk bonds: A mixed approximation method," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 243-254.
    5. Eickholt, Mathias & Entrop, Oliver & Wilkens, Marco, 2014. "Individual investors and suboptimal early exercises in the fixed-income market," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Betriebswirtschaftliche Reihe 14, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    6. Guillermo Benavides Perales & Israel Felipe Mora Cuevas, 2008. "Parametric vs. non-parametric methods for estimating option implied risk-neutral densities: the case of the exchange rate Mexican peso – US dollar," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 33-52, May.
    7. William R. Emmons & Aeimit K. Lakdawala & Christopher J. Neely, 2006. "What are the odds? option-based forecasts of FOMC target changes," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 543-562.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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