Critical Finance Review > Vol 10 > Issue 1

Mispricing of Index Options with Respect to Stochastic Dominance Bounds?

Martin Wallmeier, University of Fribourg, Switzerland,
Suggested Citation
Martin Wallmeier (2021), "Mispricing of Index Options with Respect to Stochastic Dominance Bounds?", Critical Finance Review: Vol. 10: No. 1, pp 21-55.

Publication Date: 01 Apr 2021
© 2021 Martin Wallmeier
Index optionsStochastic dominanceVolatility smileImplied volatility


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Stochastic Dominance Bounds 
3. Violations of Stochastic Dominance Bounds: Evidence from Transaction Data 
4. Comparison with Constantinides et al. (2009) 
5. Conclusion 
Appendix: Radiation Phenomenon 


For one-month S&P 500 index options, Constantinides et al (2009) report widespread and substantial violations of stochastic dominance bounds. According to the subsequent study of Constantinides et al (2011), the violations can be exploited to generate abnormal trading profits. The reported mispricing, which is far more extreme than known from the pricing kernel puzzle, calls into question that option markets meet the most basic requirements of rational pricing. However, we find that index options on the S&P 500, EuroStoxx 50 and DAX are priced almost perfectly in line with stochastic dominance bounds when adjusting for (a) the general level of option prices, (b) conditional volatility and (c) put-call parity in order to determine the appropriate (dividend-adjusted) underlying index level. Our results indicate that index option markets might be much more efficient than previous literature suggests.