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Summary statistics of option-implied probability density functions and their properties


  • Lynch, Damien

    () (Bank of England)

  • Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos

    () (Department of Economics, Queen Mary, University of London)


The statistics that summarise probability density functions(pdfs) implied from option prices can be used to assess market expectations about future uncertainty, asymmetry and the probability of extreme movements in asset prices. A time-series analysis of these statistics for equity index and interest rate markets provides some stylised facts about the behaviour of these elements of market expectations, their historical distribution, similarity and relative stability. Relationships between them and movements in underlying asset prices are considered. Cross-asset and cross-country comparisons and the information content of the implied pdfs for future macroeconomic and financial variables are also assessed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynch, Damien & Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos, 2008. "Summary statistics of option-implied probability density functions and their properties," Bank of England working papers 345, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0345

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melick, William R. & Thomas, Charles P., 1997. "Recovering an Asset's Implied PDF from Option Prices: An Application to Crude Oil during the Gulf Crisis," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 91-115, March.
    2. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
    3. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Lo, Andrew W., 2000. "Nonparametric risk management and implied risk aversion," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 9-51.
    4. Breeden, Douglas T & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1978. "Prices of State-contingent Claims Implicit in Option Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 621-651, October.
    5. Barone-Adesi, Giovanni & Whaley, Robert E, 1987. " Efficient Analytic Approximation of American Option Values," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 301-320, June.
    6. Jackwerth, Jens Carsten, 2000. "Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 433-451.
    7. Christensen, B. J. & Prabhala, N. R., 1998. "The relation between implied and realized volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 125-150, November.
    8. Bliss, Robert R. & Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos, 2002. "Testing the stability of implied probability density functions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 381-422, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hansen, Stephen & McMahon, Michael & Velasco Rivera, Carlos, 2014. "Preferences or private assessments on a monetary policy committee?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 16-32.
    2. Birru, Justin & Figlewski, Stephen, 2012. "Anatomy of a meltdown: The risk neutral density for the S&P 500 in the fall of 2008," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 151-180.

    More about this item


    Options; implied probability density functions (pdfs); summary statistics; implied volatility; implied asymmetry; market expectations.;

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G19 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Other

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