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 firm’s performance.

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., Firm’s Profitability in Smart Cities.

Firms located in smarter cities are more profitable. Social cohesion, as one of the key indicators of smart cities partially explains the link between a firm located in a smart city and its profitability. We use IESE Cities in Motion index (ICIM), as a proxy to compare smart cities, and all key indicators in calculating ICIM index for 11 most populated metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the US. We find that firms located in smarter MSAs/cities are more profitable: on average a 1% higher ICIM of a smart MSA results in a 0.13% higher profitability of firms located in this MSA.

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

This paper shows that the effect of spillovers on firms’ investments depends on agglomeration and urban characteristics. 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 more potential for growth. Moreover, such firms tend to issue higher levels of debt so as to finance their investments. These results show that spillover effects are partially explained by the competition for local resources – specifically lands and properties, which are more available in areas with higher potential for urban density increase.

• Memarian, M., Urban Density, Corporate Real Estate Holdings and Firms’ Stock Returns.

In this paper, I focus on whether and how urban characteristics of the areas in which firms are located influence the effect of firms’ corporate real estate holdings on their stock returns. I explore this causal relationship by considering location characteristics of urban areas in term of their potential for further growth and density increase. I examine whether the positive impact of real estate holdings on stock returns found in literature, would be influenced following the addition of potential density increase (PDI) of the area in which firm is located. In order to do so, by adding the interaction of firms’ corporate real estate holdings and our measure of PDIs into the equation, we 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. These results are also robust to an identification strategy approach, which addresses the potential endogeneity of the PDI measure to real estate prices.

Please find here my Curriculum Vitae.

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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