Nonparametric Estimation of State‐Price Densities Implicit in Financial Asset Prices

  • Author(s): Yacine Aït‐Sahalia, Andrew W. Lo
  • Published: Dec 17, 2002
  • Pages: 499-547
  • DOI: 10.1111/0022-1082.215228

Implicit in the prices of traded financial assets are Arrow–Debreu prices or, with continuous states, the state‐price density (SPD). We construct a nonparametric estimator for the SPD implicit in option prices and we derive its asymptotic sampling theory. This estimator provides an arbitrage‐free method of pricing new, complex, or illiquid securities while capturing those features of the data that are most relevant from an asset‐pricing perspective, for example, negative skewness and excess kurtosis for asset returns, and volatility “smiles” for option prices. We perform Monte Carlo experiments and extract the SPD from actual S&P 500 option prices.

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