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The 2007 meltdown in structured securitization : searching for lessons, not scapegoats

  • Caprio, Gerard, Jr.
  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Kane, Edward J.

The intensity of recent turbulence in financial markets has surprised nearly everyone. This paper searches out the root causes of the crisis, distinguishing them from scapegoating explanations that have been used in policy circles to divert attention from the underlying breakdown of incentives. Incentive conflicts explain how securitization went wrong, why credit ratings proved so inaccurate, and why it is superficial to blame the crisis on mark-to-market accounting, an unexpected loss of liquidity, or trends in globalization and deregulation in financial markets. The analysis finds disturbing implications of the crisis for Basel II and its implementation. The paper argues that the principal source of financial instability lies in contradictory political and bureaucratic incentives that undermine the effectiveness of financial regulation and supervision in every country in the world. The paper concludes by identifying reforms that would improve incentives by increasing transparency and accountability in government and industry alike.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4756.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4756
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  1. Gerard Caprio & Patrick Honohan, 2008. "Banking Crises," Center for Development Economics 2008-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Douglas D. Evanoff & Larry D. Wall, 2000. "Subordinated debt and bank capital reform," Working Paper 2000-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
  4. Charles W. Calomiris & Charles M. Kahn, 1996. "The Efficiency of Self-Regulated Payments Systems: Learning From the Suffolk System," NBER Working Papers 5442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dell’Ariccia, G. & Igan, D. & Laeven, L., 2009. "Credit Booms and Lending Standards : Evidence from the Subprime Mortgage Market," Discussion Paper 2009-46 S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
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