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A key feature of the 2007-2008 financial crisis is that for some classes of securities trade has ceased. And where trade does occur, it appears that market prices are well below what one might believe to be the intrinsic value for that class of security. This seems to be especially true for those securities where the payoff streams are particularly complex (for example, CDOs). One explanation for this is that information about these securities' intrinsic values is asymmetric, with the current holders having better information than potential buyers. The authors show how the resulting adverse selection problem can help explain why more complex securities trade at significant discounts to their intrinsic values or do not trade at all.
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