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Taming the Skew: Higher-Order Moments in Modeling Asset Price Processes in Finance

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  • Sanjiv Ranjan Das
  • Rangarajan K. Sundaram

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that many financial markets exhibit a considerably greater degree of kurtosis (and sometimes also skewness) than is consistent with the Geometric Brownian Motion model of Black and Scholes (1973). Among the many alternative models that have been proposed in this context, two have become especially popular in recent years: models of jump-diffusions, and models of stochastic volatility. This paper explores the statistical properties of these models with a view to identifying simple criteria for judging the consistency of either model with data from a given market; our specific focus is on the patterns of skewness and kurtosis that arise in each case as the length of the interval of observations changes. We find that, regardless of the precise parameterization employed, these patterns are strikingly similar within each class of models, enabling a simple consistency test along the desired lines. As an added bonus, we find that for most parameterizations, the set of possible patterns differs sharply across the two models, so that data from a given market will typically not be consistent with both models. However, there exist exceptional parameter configurations under which skewness and kurtosis in the two models exhibit remarkably similar behavior from a qualitative standpoint. The results herein will be useful to empiricists, theorists and practitioners looking for parsimonious models of asset prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanjiv Ranjan Das & Rangarajan K. Sundaram, 1997. "Taming the Skew: Higher-Order Moments in Modeling Asset Price Processes in Finance," NBER Working Papers 5976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5976
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David Backus & Silverio Foresi & Liuren Wu, 2002. "Accouting for Biases in Black-Scholes," Finance 0207008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Maheu, John M. & McCurdy, Thomas H. & Zhao, Xiaofei, 2013. "Do jumps contribute to the dynamics of the equity premium?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 457-477.
    3. Bates, David S., 2000. "Post-'87 crash fears in the S&P 500 futures option market," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 181-238.
    4. Jan Marc Berk, 1999. "Did markets expect Italy to join EMU? Evidence from options markets," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(8), pages 481-484.
    5. John M. Maheu & Thomas H. McCurdy, 2004. "News Arrival, Jump Dynamics, and Volatility Components for Individual Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 755-793, April.
    6. Huang, Henry H. & Wang, Kent & Wang, Zhanglong, 2016. "A test of efficiency for the S&P 500 index option market using the generalized spectrum method," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 52-70.

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