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Simple Variance Swaps


  • Ian Martin


The large asset price jumps that took place during 2008 and 2009 disrupted volatility derivatives markets and caused the single-name variance swap market to dry up completely. This paper defines and analyzes a simple variance swap, a relative of the variance swap that in several respects has more desirable properties. First, simple variance swaps are robust: they can be easily priced and hedged even if prices can jump. Second, simple variance swaps supply a more accurate measure of market-implied variance than do variance swaps or the VIX index. Third, simple variance swaps provide a better way to measure and to trade correlation. The paper also explains how to interpret VIX in the presence of jumps.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Martin, 2011. "Simple Variance Swaps," NBER Working Papers 16884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16884
    Note: AP

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    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing


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