Yonathan A. Arbel (University of Alabama)

Abstract : Legislation lags behind technology all too often. While trillions of dollars are exchanged in online transactions—safely, cheaply, and instantaneously—workers still must wait two weeks to a month to receive payments from their employers. In the modern economy, workers are effectively lending money to their employers, as they wait for earned wages to be paid. The same worker who taps a credit card to pay for groceries in semi-automated checkout lines depends on dated payroll systems that only transfer payments on a “payday.” Workers, especially those living paycheck-to-paycheck, are hard-pressed to meet their daily needs and turn to expensive, short-term credit products—notably, payday lenders. While the need for credit is a real one, credit providers charge a steep price, often culminating in endless debt spirals. So, why does the payday still exist? This Article studies various explanations—economic, historical, behavioral, and legal. A primary conclusion is that the payday owes its existence to legacy legal architecture. That is, payday is a software problem, not a hardware problem. The hardware—i.e., money and payroll technology—is here. We can pay workers daily; in fact, gig economy workers in developing countries will often be paid more quickly than an American employee for the same work. What holds us back is our legal software: Dated Eisenhower-era legislation that failed to anticipate technological change. Surprisingly, even pro-worker legislation, such as minimum wage laws, inadvertently encourage the practice. By revealing the overlooked and dated legal infrastructure that sustains the payday, the Article suggests a path for legal reform. Daily streams of payment to workers are feasible, practical, and far more efficient than most people realize. A focused reform could effectively bring an end to the puzzling and pernicious practice of having workers lend money to their employers while they wait for their payday.

The Statutory Liberalization of Trust Law Across 152 Jurisdictions: Leaders, Laggards and the Demand for Fiduciary Services

Adam S. Hofri-Winogradow (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Abstract : This article reports the findings of the first systematic overview of the statutory liberalization of trust law worldwide. Using a groundbreaking, manually collected, database of the trust legislation of every jurisdiction which has a trust regime respecting twenty-two trust law variables, I hand coded each jurisdiction’s treatments of each variable since 1925 for their relative liberality. Aggregating all jurisdictions’ scores regarding all variables, I produced a “trust liberality score” for each jurisdiction/year, expressing the extent to which trust law has been liberalized by each jurisdiction by each year. Results show the United States to be the global leader in trust law liberality: seventeen of the twenty jurisdictions which have the most liberal trust laws are American states. Much of the recent global increase in trust law liberality occurred between 1988-2016. Multivariate regression analysis of U.S. data shows that the statutory liberalization of trust law has had no effect on several indicia for the success of service provision to trusts as a commercial enterprise. It is especially clear that reforms seen as pandering, at great social cost, to trust users’ interests in order to create or sustain demand for professional services in the trust context, such as self-settled spendthrift trusts and perpetual trusts, have had no impact on any of these indicia. As an exception to the general finding of a null result, some findings with marginal statistical significance show that law reforms which reduced trustees’ exposure to liability and entrenched their entitlement to remuneration led to a decline in their earnings per trust. Those reforms are also weakly associated with an increase in trust income. It is therefore possible that reforms widely seen as preferring trustees over their clients have resulted in trustees providing a better service at lower cost.