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Buying Troubled Assets


This Essay analyzes how government intervention in the market for banks' troubled assets is best designed, and also uses this analysis to evaluate the public-private investment program announced by the U.S. government in March 2009. I begin by presenting the case for using government funds to restart the market for troubled assets. I then discuss the advantages of providing government capital to competing privately managed funds--a strategy I have advocated in past work--and I outline the key elements that such a plan should include.

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