Too-Systemic-To-Fail: What Option Markets Imply About Sector-Wide Government Guarantees
Bryan T. Kelly
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Hanno N. Lustig
UCLA - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
New York University Stern School of Business, Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
NYU Working Paper No. 2451/31427
A conspicuous amount of aggregate tail risk is missing from the price of financial sector crash insurance during the 2007-2009 crisis. The difference in costs of out-of-the-money put options for individual banks, and puts on the financial sector index, increases fourfold from its pre-crisis level. At the same time, correlations among bank stocks surge, suggesting the high put spread cannot be attributed to a relative increase in idiosyncratic risk. We show that this phenomenon is unique to the financial sector, that it cannot be explained by observed risk dynamics (volatilities and correlations), and that illiquidity and no-arbitrage violations are unlikely culprits. Instead, we provide evidence that a collective government guarantee for the financial sector lowers index put prices far more than those of individual banks, explaining the divergence in the basket-index spread. By embedding a bailout in the standard one-factor option pricing model, we can closely replicate observed put spread dynamics. During the crisis, the spread responds acutely to government intervention announcements.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Date posted: January 13, 2012 ; Last revised: September 10, 2013
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