Staff Reports
Relative Pricing and Risk Premia in Equity Volatility Markets
Number 867
September 2018

JEL classification: C58, G12, G13

Authors: Peter Van Tassel

This paper provides empirical evidence that volatility markets are integrated through the time-varying term structure of variance risk premia. These risk premia predict the returns from selling volatility for different horizons, maturities, and products, including variance swaps, straddles, and VIX futures. In addition, the paper derives a closed-form relationship between the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures. While tightly linked, VIX futures exhibit deviations of varying significance from the no-arbitrage prices and bounds implied by the variance swap market. The paper examines these pricing errors and their relationship to VIX futures’ return predictability.

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Peter Van Tassel
The author declares he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at