Predicting VIX with Adaptive Machine Learning

71 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2021 Last revised: 13 Jan 2023

See all articles by Yunfei Bai

Yunfei Bai


Charlie X. Cai

University of Liverpool Management School

Date Written: January 09, 2023


We study economic predictors of the CBOE implied volatility index (VIX). Designing an automated machine learning framework enables us to study a comprehensive list of 278 variables for the first time. Adaptive Boosting emerges as the best classification model chosen at the validation stage which also has good performance during the 11-year out-of-sample period. Our tests on the source of predictability show both the nonlinear methods and the comprehensive economic variables are important. Although VIX spikes are not predictable, the algorithms can adapt quickly by abstracting new information from the data to recover from the losses in trading strategy tests. Besides the modelling techniques, the weekly US jobless report is the most important source of predictability along with some S&P 500 members’ technical indicators.

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Keywords: Machine Learning, AutoML, Explainable AI, VIX, Predictability, Forecasting, Quantitative Trading, Big Data, S&P 500, Futures, US markets

JEL Classification: G0, G17, C52, C55, C58

Suggested Citation

Bai, Yunfei and Cai, Charlie Xiaowu, Predicting VIX with Adaptive Machine Learning (January 09, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Yunfei Bai

IEEE ( email )

Charlie Xiaowu Cai (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool Management School ( email )

University of Liverpool
Liverpool, L69 7ZA
United Kingdom

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