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This paper presents a method to solve the American option pricing problem in the Black Scholes framework that generalizes the Barone-Adesi, Whaley method 1. An auxiliary parameter is introduced in the American option pricing problem. Power series expansions in this parameter of the option price and of the corresponding free boundary are derived. These series expansions have the Baroni-Adesi, Whaley solution of the American option pricing problem as zero-th order term. The coefficients of the option price series are explicit formulae. The partial sums of the free boundary series are determined solving numerically nonlinear equations that depend from the time variable as a parameter. Numerical experiments suggest that the series expansions derived are convergent. The evaluation of the truncated series expansions on a grid of values of the independent variables is easily parallelizable. The cost of computing the n-th order truncated series expansions is approximately proportional to n as n goes to infinity. The results obtained on a set of test problems with the first and second order approximations deduced from the previous series expansions outperform in accuracy and-or in computational cost the results obtained with several alternative methods to solve the American option pricing problem 1-3. For example when we consider options with maturity time between three and ten years and positive cost of carrying parameter i.e. when the continuous dividend yield is smaller than the risk free interest rate the second order approximation of the free boundary obtained truncating the series expansions improves substantially the Barone-Adesi, Whaley free boundary 1. The website: contains material including animations, an interactive application and an app that helps the understanding of the paper. A general reference to the work of the authors and of their coauthors in mathematical finance is the website:


American Option Pricing, Perturbation Expansion

Cite this paper

Fatone, L. , Mariani, F. , Recchioni, M. and Zirilli, F. 2015 The Barone-Adesi Whaley Formula to Price American Options Revisited. Applied Mathematics, 6, 382-402. doi: 10.4236-am.2015.62036.

Autor: Lorella Fatone1, Francesca Mariani2, Maria Cristina Recchioni3, Francesco Zirilli4



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