The evaluation of discrete barrier options in a path integral framework

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Computational Methods in Financial Engineering: Essays in Honour of Manfred Gilli, 2008, 1, pp. 117 - 144
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The pricing of discretely monitored barrier options is a difficult problem. In general, there is no known closed form solution for pricing such options. A path integral approach to the evaluation of barrier options is developed. This leads to a backward recursion functional equation linking the pricing functions at successive barrier points. This functional equation is solved by expanding the pricing functions in Fourier-Hermite series. The backward recursion functional equation then becomes the backward recurrence relation for the coefficients in the Fourier-Hermite expansion of the pricing functions. A very efficient and accurate method for generating the pricing function at any barrier point is thus obtained. A number of numerical experiments with the method are performed in order to gain some understanding of the nature of convergence. Results for various volatility values and different numbers of basis functions in the Fourier-Hermite expansion are presented. Comparisons are given between pricing of discrete barrier option in the path integral framework and by use of finite difference methods.
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