Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Financial Economics


Economics and Finance

Major Professor

M. Kabir Hassan

Second Advisor

Tarun Muhkerjee

Third Advisor

Walter Lane

Fourth Advisor

Duygu Zirek

Fifth Advisor

Ali Ashraf


In chapter 1, we examine the nature and scale of the relationship between returns on sector Equity Traded Funds (ETFs) and their volatility. We discuss the source and direction of the effect between returns and risk and whether behavioral biases are prominent among sector ETFs. The study has implications for financial sector practitioners and investors, as it provides more information about the risk in sector ETF and whether that risk differs from that of other investment instruments. To this end, we test three hypotheses based on the relevant literature on volatility and returns: the leverage effect hypothesis, feedback hypothesis, and behavioral biases in assets pricing. We employ two measures of volatility in this chapter; specifically, we use the GARCH (1, 1) model and the Range-based autoregressive model.

Chapter 2 presents an examination of the factors that affect payout policy in a frontier market. MSCI classifies the Saudi stock exchange as a large frontier market and proposes to be reclassified as an emerging market by next year. The Saudi market is characterized by the high governmental influence and dominance of individual traders on daily transactions. By studying the 12-year panel data, we assess the effect government, board characteristics, social norms and major shareholder on Saudi firms’ decision to distribute dividends. The government presence and investor taste, especially for Islamic-compliant firms, are discussed. This chapter provides valuable information for investors and practitioners by identifying the factors that should be considered when making finance and investment decisions in frontier markets.


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