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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Nov 2, 2017

Complexity in Structured Finance


We study complexity in the market for securitized products, a market at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007-2009. The complexity of these products rose substantially in the years preceding the financial crisis. We find that securities in more complex deals default more and have lower realized returns. The worse performance is economically meaningful: a one standard deviation increase in complexity represents an 18% increase in default on AAA securities. However, yields of more complex securities are not higher indicating that investors did not perceive them as riskier. Our results are consistent with complexity obfuscating security quality.

Note: Research papers posted on SSRN, including any findings, may differ from the final version chosen for publication in academic journals.   

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