Mahsa Memarian

As a PhD candidate in Financial Management, my research interest lies in the intersection of Urban Economy, Asset Pricing and Corporate Finance. In particular, I study urban economy in U.S. market, and I analyse the effect of urban characteristics of the areas in which firms are located on firms’ stock return.
My background is in Mechanical Engineering and I also worked for a while as an engineer for an engineering and construction Company in oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Furthermore, I did a master in Socio-Economic System Engineering (SESE) which is an interdisciplinary field in economics, finance, and management. Prior to my academic career, I got involved in industry and organizations to get some work experience in this field. I was a market research specialist for one of the major producers of electrical motors in Iran.
• Memarian, M., Vergara-Alert, C., Urban Density and Firms’ Stock Returns.

In this paper, we study the impact of the urban density on the U.S. firms’ stock returns. Firms located in dense urban areas present higher productivity due to the flow of ideas and innovation in these areas. Through this productivity channel, urban density characteristics of the areas where firms’ headquarters are located affect stock returns. We use high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth to develop an exogenous measure of potential density increase (PDI) for the 95 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the U.S. This measure represents the proportion of area in the total area within 1 hour drive from the center of the MSA that could rapidly increase its density. We find that firms located in areas with high potential density increase present lower stock returns: On average, a 1% higher PDI of an MSA results in 2.9% lower excess stock return of firms located in this MSA.

• Memarian, M., Economies of Agglomeration and Firm’s Investment.

This paper shows how firms' investments are sensitive to local economies of agglomeration. By studying firms located in the 95 most populated U.S. MSAs, I explore the casual effect of local agglomeration – in terms of the potential density increase of the areas where firms are located – on firms’ investment decisions and growth. I show that firms located in more urban agglomerated areas with higher potential for density increase present higher levels of investments and issue higher amounts of debt. These results are explained by network effects and other potential benefits caused by the economies of scale fostered by city growth and the availability of investment opportunities.
• Memarian, M., Does Urban Density, Corporate Real Estate Holdings and Firms’ Stock Returns.

In this this paper, I focus on the question: do urban characteristics of the areas in which firms are located influence the effect of firms' corporate real estate holdings on their stock returns? Tüzel (2010) argued that the proportion of real estate held by firms has a significant positive effect on the cross-section of expected stock returns. She explains this positive effect through the slow rate of depreciation for real estate holdings. Accordingly, she argues that firms with more real estate holdings are more vulnerable to bad productivity shocks and they are more risky, which leads them to have higher expected stock returns. In this paper, I explore this causal relationship by considering location characteristics. I examine whether this positive impact of real estate holdings on stock returns is affected by adding into the equation the potential density increase of the area in which the focal firm is located. I show that the positive effect of real estate ratio on firm’s excess stock returns is washed out, and turns to be significantly negative after considering the effect of potential density increase.

I will be available for interviews at the 2017 EFMD @Solvay Job Fair in Brussels, 2017 Spanish Economic Association (SAEe) meeting in Barcelona and 2018 AFA meetings in Philadelphia.

Mahsa Memarian

PhD Candidate

Academic Area

Financial Management

Dissertation Director

Prof. Carles Vergara-Alert


• MS Socio-Economic System Engineering-Economics and Finance (Sharif University of Technology, Iran)
• BS Mechanical Engineering (University of Tehran, Iran)

Research Interests

Real Estate, Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance

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