Anna Katherine Barnett-Hart wrote a paper while a student at Harvard that Michael Lewis used as inspiration for his new book, The Big Short. Yes, she’s that good.
We read through it, and what’s great about it is the clear-eyed illustration of how the CDO market metastasized and turned into such an out-of-control monster.
So, they’ve provided an handy, easy to understand explanation of what happened, and why. Here’s the opening graphic, which no doubt makes things perfectly opaque. As it turns out, that was the intent. CDOs make balance sheets look healthier even as they were deliberately used to mask the riskiest assets. Read on.