The Factor Structure in Equity Options

Peter Christoffersen, Mathieu Fournier, Kris Jacobs

Research output: Working paperResearch


Equity options display a strong factor structure. The first principal components of the equity volatility levels, skews, and term structures explain a substantial fraction of the cross-sectional variation. Furthermore, these principal components are highly correlated with the S&P500 index option volatility, skew, and term structure respectively. We develop an equity option valuation model that captures this factor structure. The model predicts that firms with higher market betas have higher implied volatilities, steeper moneyness slopes, and a term structure that co-varies more with the market. The model provides a good fit and the equity option data support the model’s cross-sectional implications.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationToronto
PublisherRotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Number of pages88
Publication statusPublished - 2016
SeriesRotman School of Management Working Paper


  • Factor models
  • Equity options
  • Implied volatility
  • Option-implied beta

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