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Variance risk, financial intermediation, and the cross-section of expected option returns

  • Schürhoff, Norman
  • Ziegler, Alexandre

We explore the pricing of variance risk by decomposing stocks' total variance into systematic and idiosyncratic return variances. While systematic variance risk exhibits a negative price of risk, common shocks to the variances of idiosyncratic returns carry a large positive risk premium. This implies investors pay for insurance against increases (declines) in systematic (idiosyncratic) variance, even though both variances comove countercyclically. Common idiosyncratic variance risk is an important determinant for the cross-section of expected option returns. These findings reconcile several phenomena, including the pricing differences between index and stock options, the cross-sectional variation in stock option expensiveness, the volatility mispricing puzzle, and the significant returns earned on various option portfolio strategies. Our results are consistent with theories of financial intermediation under capital constraints.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8268.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8268
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  1. Sentana, Enrique, 2004. "Factor representing portfolios in large asset markets," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 257-289, April.
  2. Andrew Ang & Robert J. Hodrick & Yuhang Xing & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2004. "The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns," NBER Working Papers 10852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peter Carr & Liuren Wu, 2004. "Variance Risk Premia," Finance 0409015, EconWPA.
  4. John Y. Campbell & Martin Lettau & Burton G. Malkiel & Yexiao Xu, 2000. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 7590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joost Driessen & Pascal J. Maenhout & Grigory Vilkov, 2009. "The Price of Correlation Risk: Evidence from Equity Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1377-1406, 06.
  6. Guillaume Plantin & Igor Makarov, 2010. "Rewarding Trading Skills Without Inducing Gambling," 2010 Meeting Papers 899, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Sentana, E. & Fiorentini, G., 1997. "Identification, Estimation and Testing of Conditionally Heteroskedastic Factor Model," Papers 9709, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  8. José Da Fonseca & Martino Grasselli & Florian Ielpo, 2011. "Hedging (Co)Variance Risk With Variance Swaps," International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance (IJTAF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 14(06), pages 899-943.
  9. Andrea Buraschi & Paolo Porchia & Fabio Trojani, 2010. "Correlation Risk and Optimal Portfolio Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(1), pages 393-420, 02.
  10. Gurdip Bakshi & Nikunj Kapadia, 2003. "Delta-Hedged Gains and the Negative Market Volatility Risk Premium," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 527-566.
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