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ABSTRACT

Under the common assumption of constant interest rates, we show that penalties for early termination of a lease are often structured in such a way that the cancellation option embedded in consumer automotive leases has little value. Furthermore, our estimates drawn from a sample of three popular car models over 1990 to 2000 indicate that the stand-alone value of the lease-end purchase option is, on average, about 16% of the market value of underlying used vehicles, or about $1,462 per contract. Finally, we examine the sensitivity of our option value estimates to model parameters and default risk.