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Too-Systemic-To-Fail: What Option Markets Imply About Sector-Wide Government Guarantees

56 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2012 Last revised: 10 Feb 2016

Bryan T. Kelly

University of Chicago - Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hanno N. Lustig

Stanford Graduate School of Business; 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)

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Date Written: January 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Kelly, Bryan T. and Lustig, Hanno N. and Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, Too-Systemic-To-Fail: What Option Markets Imply About Sector-Wide Government Guarantees (January 2012). NYU Working Paper No. 2451/31427. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1983085

Bryan T. Kelly

University of Chicago - Finance ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Hanno N. Lustig

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Stanford GSB
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh (Contact Author)

New York University Stern School of Business, Department of Finance ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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