Understanding Index Option Returns

51 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2007

See all articles by Mark Broadie

Mark Broadie

Columbia University - Columbia Business School - Decision Risk and Operations

Michael S. Johannes

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics

Mikhail Chernov

UCLA Anderson

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 3, 2007


This paper studies the returns from investing in index options. Previous research documents significant average option returns, large CAPM alphas, and high Sharpe ratios, and concludes that put options are mispriced. We propose an alternative approach to evaluate the significance of option returns and obtain different conclusions. Instead of using these statistical metrics, we compare historical option returns to those generated by commonly used option pricing models. We find that the most puzzling finding in the existing literature, the large returns to writing out-of-the-money puts, is not even inconsistent with the Black-Scholes model. Moreover, simple stochastic volatility models with no risk premia generate put returns across all strikes that are not inconsistent with the observed data. At-the-money straddle returns are more challenging to understand, and we find that these returns are not inconsistent with explanations such as jump risk premia, Peso problems, and estimation risk.

Keywords: put pricing puzzle, option returns, jump-diffusion models, risk premia

JEL Classification: G12, G13, C13, C22

Suggested Citation

Broadie, Mark and Johannes, Michael Slater and Chernov, Mikhail, Understanding Index Option Returns (May 3, 2007). AFA 2008 New Orleans Meetings Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=965739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.965739

Mark Broadie

Columbia University - Columbia Business School - Decision Risk and Operations ( email )

New York, NY
United States
212-854-4103 (Phone)

Michael Slater Johannes

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Mikhail Chernov (Contact Author)

UCLA Anderson ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

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