Brian Melzer
Brian Melzer

Assistant Professor of Finance

Print Overview

Brian Melzer is an assistant professor in the Finance Department. His research interests include household finance, financial institutions and financial regulation. His recent work examines the investment choices of heavily indebted homeowners. He has also studied the effects of payday loans, which are small, short-term consumer loans.

Professor Melzer received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 2008. Prior to graduate study, he worked as a research analyst in the investment management business.

Areas of Expertise
Banking and Financial Institutions
Corporate Finance
Personal Finance
Regulation of Financial Markets

Print Vita
PhD, 2008, Economics, University of Chicago
MLitt, 2000, Philosophy, St. Andrews University
AB, 1999, Philosophy, Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude

Academic Positions
Faculty Associate, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2014-present
Affiliate, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2014-present
Assistant Professor of Finance, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2008-present

Print Research
Research Interests
Financial institutions; household finance

Melzer, Brian. 2011. The Real Costs of Credit Access: Evidence from the Payday Lending Market. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 126(1): 517-555.
Working Papers
Melzer, Brian and Camelia M Kuhnen. 2014. Non-cognitive Abilities and Loan Delinquency.
Melzer, Brian, Alessandro Previtero, Stephen Foerster and Juhani Linnainmaa. 2014. The Costs and Benefits of Financial Advice.
Melzer, Brian. 2012. Mortgage Debt Overhang: Reduced Investment by Homeowners with Negative Equity.
Melzer, Brian. 2012. Spillovers from Costly Credit.
Melzer, Brian and Donald P. Morgan. 2012. Competition in a Consumer Loan Market: Payday Loans and Overdraft Credit.
Matsa, David ABrian Melzer and Joanne W. Hsu. Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit.

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests
Corporate finance
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Finance II (FINC-431-0)
This course covers the basic financial knowledge needed to run a firm—whether the firm is a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate or a three-person start up. Using a combination of lectures and business cases, we will examine how firms fund their projects (capital structure), how they manage the risks that arise (risk management), and how they allocate the return on their investments (payout policy). This course is designed both for managers who will initially specialize in a different functional area (e.g., marketing, operations) and for managers who will be directly involved in making or analyzing these decisions (e.g., future senior executives, general managers, investment bankers, consultants, securities analysts, money managers, investment advisors).

This version of Finance II is designed for students who took Finance I in or after Fall 2014.

Finance II (FINC-441-0)

Corporate Finance (FINC-441) covers the financial knowledge you need to run a firm, whether the firm is a multi-billion international conglomerate or a three-person start up. You will learn how to answer the three fundamental question of corporate finance. (1) Capital structure or the funding decision: which source(s) of capital should you use to fund the firm’s project? (2) Capital budgeting or the investment decision: which projects should you invest in? (3) Dividend decision: how should you deploy the capital that the project returns. We will cover the three fundamental methods for valuing projects and firms: discounted cash flow (or net present value), real options, and multiples analysis. The class begins with a theoretical framework. The world of finance is very complex. Without a logical structure that you can use to frame and answer questions, you will rapidly become lost and will be unable to defend your position. The theoretical framework is valuable, however, only if you can use it to examine real world decisions. Thus the majority of class time will be devoted to applying the logical framework.
This course is important for anyone who plans to run a firm or a division, who hopes to be involved in the investment or funding decisions of the firm, who plans to work for a service provider who will assist the firm in analyzing these decisions (e.g., banking and consulting), or who plans to invest in firms or advise clients who will invest in firms. Even if you initially specialize in a different functional area, you want to understand how the finance function works. The most brilliant idea isn’t useful if you cannot get it funded.

ACCT-430 and MECN-430 are recommended.

This version of Finance II is designed for students who took Finance I in or before Summer 2014. This course will be offered in Fall 2014 in Evanston & Chicago and offered in Winter 2015 in Chicago