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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page The Sovereignty Option: The Quebec Referendum and Market Views on the Canadian Dollar
Michael P. Leahy and Charles P. Thomas

Abstract:  We use exchange traded options on Canadian dollar futures to estimate the market's risk-neutral distribution for the Canadian dollar in the days before and after the Quebec sovereignty referendum. We employ a relatively new technique that places little a priori structure on the estimated distribution. This lack of structure allows the estimated distribution to reflect the multi-modal nature of expectations associated with the referendum's results. The technique is especially suited to circumstances in which a particular event will reduce a large degree of uncertainty prior to the expiration date of the options. Our estimated distributions are consistent with a significant perceived probability that the Canadian dollar would move up or down by as much as 5 percent as a result of the vote.

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Last update: July 19, 2001