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Why do variance swaps exist?

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Abstract

This paper studies the determinants of the variance risk premium and concludes on the hedging possibilities offered by variance swaps. We start by showing that the variance risk premium responds to changes in higher order moments of the distribution of market returns. But the uncertainty that determines the variance risk premium –the fear by investors to deviations from Normality in returns- is also strongly related to a variety of risks: risk of default, employment growth risk, consumption growth risk, stock market risk and market illiquidity risk. Therefore, the variance risk premium could be interpreted as reflecting the market willingness to pay for hedging against financial and macroeconomic sources of risk. We provide additional evidence in support of that view.

Suggested Citation

  • Belén Nieto & Alfonso Novales Cinca & Gonzalo Rubio, 2011. "Why do variance swaps exist?," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2011-06, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucm:doicae:1106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amihud, Yakov, 2002. "Illiquidity and stock returns: cross-section and time-series effects," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 31-56, January.
    2. Rubinstein, Mark E., 1973. "The Fundamental Theorem of Parameter-Preference Security Valuation," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 61-69, January.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    4. Huberman, Gur & Kandel, Shmuel, 1987. " Mean-Variance Spanning," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 873-888, September.
    5. Joel Hasbrouck, 2009. "Trading Costs and Returns for U.S. Equities: Estimating Effective Costs from Daily Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1445-1477, June.
    6. Jobson, J. D. & Korkie, Bob, 1989. "A Performance Interpretation of Multivariate Tests of Asset Set Intersection, Spanning, and Mean-Variance Efficiency," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 185-204, June.
    7. Leon, Angel & Rubio, Gonzalo & Serna, Gregorio, 2005. "Autoregresive conditional volatility, skewness and kurtosis," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-5), pages 599-618, September.
    8. 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, June.
    9. Campbell R. Harvey & Akhtar Siddique, 2000. "Conditional Skewness in Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1263-1295, June.
    10. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1976. "Skewness Preference and the Valuation of Risk Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1085-1100, September.
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    Keywords

    Variance risk premium; Non-normality; Economic risks; Hedging;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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