Single Stock Call Options as Lottery Tickets: Overpricing and Investor Sentiment
Forthcoming in Journal of Behavioral Finance
38 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016 Last revised: 5 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 31, 2018
This paper investigates whether the overpricing of out-of-the money single stock calls can be explained by Tversky and Kahneman's (1992) cumulative prospect theory (CPT). We hypothesize that these options are expensive because investors overweight small probability events and overpay for positively skewed securities, i.e, lottery tickets. We find that overweighting of small probabilities embedded in the CPT explains the richness of out-of-the money single stock calls better than other utility functions. Nevertheless, overweighting of small probabilities events is less pronounced than suggested by the CPT, is strongly time-varying and most frequent in options of short maturity. We find that fluctuations in overweighting of small probabilities are largely explained by the sentiment factor.
Keywords: Cumulative prospect theory; investor sentiment; risk-neutral densities; call options
JEL Classification: G02, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation