Taming the Skew: Higher-Order Moments in Modeling Asset Price Processes in Finance

44 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2000 Last revised: 3 Apr 2008

See all articles by Sanjiv Ranjan Das

Sanjiv Ranjan Das

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business

Rangarajan K. Sundaram

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Date Written: March 1997

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that many financial markets exhibit a considerably greater degree of kurtosis (and sometimes also skewness) than is consistent with the Geometric Brownian Motion model of Black and Scholes (1973). Among the many alternative models that have been proposed in this context, two have become especially popular in recent years: models of jump-diffusions, and models of stochastic volatility. This paper explores the statistical properties of these models with a view to identifying simple criteria for judging the consistency of either model with data from a given market; our specific focus is on the patterns of skewness and kurtosis that arise in each case as the length of the interval of observations changes. We find that, regardless of the precise parameterization employed, these patterns are strikingly similar within each class of models, enabling a simple consistency test along the desired lines. As an added bonus, we find that for most parameterizations, the set of possible patterns differs sharply across the two models, so that data from a given market will typically not be consistent with both models. However, there exist exceptional parameter configurations under which skewness and kurtosis in the two models exhibit remarkably similar behavior from a qualitative standpoint. The results herein will be useful to empiricists, theorists and practitioners looking for parsimonious models of asset prices.

Suggested Citation

Das, Sanjiv Ranjan and Sundaram, Rangarajan K., Taming the Skew: Higher-Order Moments in Modeling Asset Price Processes in Finance (March 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w5976. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225755

Sanjiv Ranjan Das (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business ( email )

Department of Finance
316M Lucas Hall
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

HOME PAGE: http://algo.scu.edu/~sanjivdas/

Rangarajan K. Sundaram

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0308 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)

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