Recovering the real-world density and liquidity premia from option data

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Journal Article
Quantitative Finance, 2016, 16 (7), pp. 1147 - 1164
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© 2016 Taylor & Francis In this paper, we develop a methodology for simultaneous recovery of the real-world probability density and liquidity premia from observed S&P 500 index option prices. Assuming the existence of a numéraire portfolio for the US equity market, fair prices of derivatives under the benchmark approach can be obtained directly under the real-world measure. Under this modelling framework, there exists a direct link between observed call option prices on the index and the real-world density for the underlying index. We use a novel method for the estimation of option-implied volatility surfaces of high quality, which enables the subsequent analysis. We show that the real-world density that we recover is consistent with the observed realized dynamics of the underlying index. This admits the identification of liquidity premia embedded in option price data. We identify and estimate two separate liquidity premia embedded in S&P 500 index options that are consistent with previous findings in the literature.
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