Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Shahid Hamid

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kenneth Bartunek

Third Advisor's Name

William W. Welch

Fourth Advisor's Name

Krishnan Dandapani

Fifth Advisor's Name

Arun J. Prakash

Date of Defense



Since the seminal works of Markowitz (1952), Sharpe (1964), and Lintner (1965), numerous studies on portfolio selection and performance measure have been based upon the mean-variance framework. However, several researchers [e.g., Arditti (1967, and 1971), Samuelson (1970), and Rubinstein (1973)] argue that the higher moments cannot be neglected unless there is reason to believe that: (i) the asset returns are normally distributed and the investor's utility function is quadratic, or (ii) the empirical evidence demonstrates that higher moments are irrelevant to the investor's decision. Based on the same argument, this dissertation investigates the impact of higher moments of return distributions on three issues concerning the 14 international stock markets.

First, the portfolio selection with skewness is determined using the Polynomial Goal Programming in which investor preferences for skewness can be incorporated. The empirical findings suggest that the return distributions of international stock markets are not normally distributed, and that the incorporation of skewness into an investor's portfolio decision causes a major change in the construction of his optimal portfolio. The evidence also indicates that an investor will trade expected return of the portfolio for skewness. Moreover, when short sales are allowed, investors are better off as they attain higher expected return and skewness simultaneously.

Second, the performance of international stock markets are evaluated using two types of performance measures: (i) the two-moment performance measures of Sharpe (1966), and Treynor (1965), and (ii) the higher-moment performance measures of Prakash and Bear (1986), and Stephens and Proffitt (1991). The empirical evidence indicates that higher moments of return distributions are significant and relevant to the investor's decision. Thus, the higher moment performance measures should be more appropriate to evaluate the performances of international stock markets. The evidence also indicates that various measures provide a vastly different performance ranking of the markets, albeit in the same direction.

Finally, the inter-temporal stability of the international stock markets is investigated using the Parhizgari and Prakash (1989) algorithm for the Sen and Puri (1968) test which accounts for non-normality of return distributions. The empirical finding indicates that there is strong evidence to support the stability in international stock market movements. However, when the Anderson test which assumes normality of return distributions is employed, the stability in the correlation structure is rejected. This suggests that the non-normality of the return distribution is an important factor that cannot be ignored in the investigation of inter-temporal stability of international stock markets.





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