The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Building on the widely-used double-lognormal approach by Bahra (1997), this paper presents a multi-lognormal approach with restrictions to extract risk-neutral probability density functions (RNPs) for various asset classes. The contributions are twofold: first, on the technical side, the paper proposes useful transformation/restrictions to Bahra's original formulation for achieving economically sensible outcomes. In addition, the paper compares the statistical properties of the estimated RNPs among major asset classes, including commodities, the S&P 500, the dollar/euro exchange rate, and the US 10-year Treasury Note. Finally, a Monte Carlo study suggests that the multi-lognormal approach outperforms the double-lognormal approach.