Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

William Trainor

Thesis Professor Department

Economics and Finance

Thesis Reader(s)

Joseph Newhard


This study examines the Chicago Board Option Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) which is the implied volatility calculated from short-term option prices on the Standards & Poor’s 500 stock index (S&P 500). Findings suggest VIX overestimates average volatility by approximately 3% but explains 55% of S&P 500’s proceeding month’s volatility. The implied volatility (IV) from options on the VIX add additional explanatory power for the S&P’s 500 proceeding kurtosis values (a measure of tail risk). The VIX option’s volatility smirks did not add additional explanatory power for explaining the S&P 500 volatility or kurtosis. A simple trading rule based on buying the S&P 500 whether the VIX, IV from the options on the VIX, and the VIX option’s volatility smirk decline over the preceding month results in an additional 0.96% return in the following month. However, this only occurs approximately 10% of the time and does not outperform a simple buy-and-hold strategy as the strategy has the investor out of the market the majority of the time.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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