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Why Does Volatility Uncertainty Predict Equity Option Returns?

Cao, J. J., Vasquez, A. A., Xiao, X. ORCID: 0000-0002-0564-9795 & Zhan, X. E. (2023). Why Does Volatility Uncertainty Predict Equity Option Returns?. The Quarterly Journal of Finance, 13(1), article number 2350005. doi: 10.1142/s2010139223500052


Delta-hedged option returns consistently decrease in volatility of volatility changes (volatility uncertainty), for both implied and realized volatilities. We provide a thorough investigation of the underlying mechanisms including model-risk and gambling-preference channels. Uncertainty of both volatilities amplifies the model risk, leading to a higher option premium charged by dealers. Volatility of volatility-increases, rather than that of volatility-decreases, contributes to the effect of implied volatility uncertainty, supporting the gambling-preference channel. We further strengthen this channel by examining the effects of option end-users net demand and lottery-like features, and by decomposing implied volatility changes into systematic and idiosyncratic components.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Electronic version of an article published as The Quarterly Journal of Finance, 13, 1, 2023, 2350005 © copyright World Scientific Publishing Company,
Publisher Keywords: Delta-hedged option returns; volatility uncertainty; volatility-of-volatility; model risk; gambling preference
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Bayes Business School > Finance
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 2023Mar_VOV_QJF.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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