Testing for anticipated changes in spot volatility at event times

Viktor Todorov*, Yang Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a test for anticipated changes in spot volatility, either due to continuous or discontinuous price moves, at the times of realization of event risk in the form of pre-scheduled releases of economic information such as earnings announcements by firms and macroeconomic news announcements. These events can generate nontrivial volatility in asset returns, which does not scale even locally in time. Our test is based on short-dated options written on an underlying asset subject to event risk, which takes place after the options' observation time and prior to or after their expiration. We use options with different tenors to estimate the conditional (risk-neutral) characteristic functions of the underlying asset log-returns over the horizons of the options. Using these estimates and a relationship between the conditional characteristic functions with three different tenors, which holds true if and only if continuous and discontinuous spot volatility does not change at the event time, we design a test for this hypothesis. In an empirical application, we study anticipated individual stocks' volatility changes following earnings announcements for a set of stocks with good option coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEconometric Theory
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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