This paper examines nonlinearities in the dynamics of volatility expectations using benchmarks of implied volatility for the US and Japanese markets. The evidence from Markov regime-switching models suggests that volatility expectations are likely to be governed by regimes featuring a long memory process and significant leverage effects. Market volatility is expected to increase in bear periods and decrease in bull periods. Leverage effects constitute thus an important source of nonlinearities in volatility expectations. There is no evidence of long swings associated with financial crises, which do not have the potential of shifting volatility expectations from one regime to another for long protracted periods.Markov Regime Switching, Implied Volatility Index, Nonlinear Modelling.
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