Option-Implied Correlations and the Price of Correlation Risk
47 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2012 Last revised: 19 Apr 2016
Date Written: October 01, 2005
Motivated by extensive evidence that stock-return correlations are stochastic, we analyze whether the risk of correlation changes (affecting diversification benefits) is priced. We propose a direct and intuitive test by comparing option-implied correlations between stock returns (obtained by combining index option prices with prices of options on all index components) with realized correlations. Our parsimonious model shows that the substantial gap between average implied (39.5% for S&P500 and 46.0% for DJ30) and realized correlations (32.5% and 35.5%, respectively) is direct evidence of a large negative correlation risk premium. Empirical implementation of our model also indicates that the index variance risk premium can be attributed to the high price of correlation risk. Finally, we provide evidence that option-implied correlations have remarkable predictive power for future market returns, which also stays significant after controlling for a number of fundamental market return predictors.
Keywords: implied correlation, return predictability, index variance, variance risk premium, individual options
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G13, G17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation