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The Market Structure of Securitization and the US Housing Bubble

Working paper #769
Susan M. Wachter

Housing finance, and, specifically, the subprime private label securitization market in the US, was at the epicenter of the global financial crisis. Excessive debt expansion in the run-up to the crisis resulted in credit risk, under-identified and mispriced ex ante, and in systemic risk. This paper considers the role of financial innovation in debt markets and the changing market structure of securitization in the evolution of the US housing price bubble. New financing vehicles contributed to growing risk, but the more salient factor was the change in the structure of securitization, which led to unsustainable levels of debt.

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