The random walk is a powerful model. Chemistry, Physics, and Finance are just a few of the disciplines that model with the random walk. It is clear from its varied uses that despite its simplicity, the simple random walk it very flexible. There is one major drawback, however, to the simple random walk and the geometric random walk. The limiting distribution is either normal, lognormal, or a levy process with infinite variance. This thesis introduces an new random walk aimed at overcoming this drawback. Because the simple random walk and the geometric random walk are special cases of the proposed walk, it is called a generalized random walk. Several properties of the generalized random walk are considered. First, the limiting distribution of the generalized random walk is shown to include a large class of distributions. Second and in conjunction with the first, the generalized random walk is compared to the geometric random walk. It is shown that when parametrized properly, the generalized random walk does converge to the lognormal distribution. Third, and perhaps most interesting, is one of the limiting properties of the generalized random walk. In the limit, generalized random walks are closely connected with a u function. The u function is the key link between generalized random walks and its difference equation. Last, we apply the generalized random walk to option pricing.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Statistics



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generalized random walk, generalized binomial tree, binomial asset pricing model, random walk, binomial tree