Alternative tilts for nonparametric option pricing



This study generalizes the nonparametric approach to option pricing of Stutzer, M. (1996) by demonstrating that the canonical valuation methodology introduced therein is one member of the Cressie–Read family of divergence measures. Alhough the limiting distribution of the alternative measures is identical to the canonical measure, the finite sample properties are quite different. We assess the ability of the alternative divergence measures to price European call options by approximating the risk-neutral, equivalent martingale measure from an empirical distribution of the underlying asset. A simulation study of the finite sample properties of the alternative measure changes reveals that the optimal divergence measure depends upon how accurately the empirical distribution of the underlying asset is estimated. In a simple Black–Scholes model, the optimal measure change is contingent upon the number of outliers observed, whereas the optimal measure change is a function of time to expiration in the stochastic volatility model of Heston, S. L. (1993). Our extension of Stutzer's technique preserves the clean analytic structure of imposing moment restrictions to price options, yet demonstrates that the nonparametric approach is even more general in pricing options than originally believed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Jrl Fut Mark 30:983–1006, 2010