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The Shape and Term Structure of the Index Option Smirk: Why Multifactor Stochastic Volatility Models Work so Well

  • Peter Christoffersen

    ()

    (McGill University and CREATES)

  • Steven Heston

    (R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland)

  • Kris Jacobs

    (McGill University and Tilburg University)

State-of-the-art stochastic volatility models generate a "volatility smirk" that explains why out-of-the-money index puts have high prices relative to the Black-Scholes benchmark. These models also adequately explain how the volatility smirk moves up and down in response to changes in risk. However, the data indicate that the slope and the level of the smirk fluctuate largely independently. While single-factor stochastic volatility models can capture the slope of the smirk, they cannot explain such largely independent fluctuations in its level and slope over time. We propose to model these movements using a two-factor stochastic volatility model. Because the factors have distinct correlations with market returns, and because the weights of the factors vary over time, the model generates stochastic correlation between volatility and stock returns. Besides providing more flexible modeling of the time variation in the smirk, the model also provides more flexible modeling of the volatility term structure. Our empirical results indicate that the model improves on the benchmark Heston model by 24% in-sample and 23% out-of-sample. The better fit results from improvements in the modeling of the term structure dimension as well as the moneyness dimension.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University in its series CREATES Research Papers with number 2009-34.

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Length: 41
Date of creation: 17 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:create:2009-34
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

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