Volatility contagion: new evidence from market pricing of volatility risk

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 25 September 2015

Working Paper No. 552
By Marek Raczko 

This paper proposes a novel approach to assessing volatility contagion across equity markets. I decompose the variance risk premia of three major stock indices into: crash and non-crash risk components and analyse their cross-market correlations. I find that crash-risk premia exhibit higher correlations than non-crash risk premia, implying the existence of volatility contagion. This suggests that investors believe that equity returns will be more highly correlated across countries during market crashes than during more normal times. The main result of the analysis holds when I apply other measures of co-movement as well as when I allow correlation to be time varying. Moreover I document that crash-premia constitute a large portion of the overall variance risk premia, highlighting the importance of crash-risks. Unlike the existing literature, my approach to testing the existence of volatility contagion does not rely on short periods of financial distress, but allows for crash-risk premia to be computed in tranquil times.

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