Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman

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Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson


Born Apr. 25, 1861, in New York; died July 18, 1939, in Lake Placid, N.Y. American economist.

Seligman studied at Columbia University, where he taught from 1885 to 1931. He was the founder and president of the American Economic Association (1902–04) and the editor in chief of the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (vols. 1–15, 1930–35).

Seligman’s overall viewpoint was eclectic. Although he shared certain ideas of the historic school of political economy, including a critical attitude toward the system of economic liberalism and a proclivity for defending protectionism as a condition for developing new industrial sectors, he endeavored to apply the analysis of the Austrian school to social problems, extending E. von Böhm-Bawerk’s concept of “marginal pairs of sellers and buyers” to social groups or “marginal classes.” Seligman agreed with J. B. Clark’s views on value and distribution.

Seligman’s works on taxation, in which he established the theoretical principles for a progressive income tax, as well as his work on finances and economic history, have enjoyed great popularity.


The Economic Interpretation of History, 2nd ed. New York, 1907.
Studies in Public Finance. New York, 1925.
In Russian translation:
Osnovy politicheskoi ekonomii. St. Petersburg, 1908.
Ocherkipo teorii oblozheniia. Petrograd, 1924.


Seligman, B. Osnovnye techeniia sovremennoi ekonomicheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, Burgess's affinity for German-trained scholars like himself led him to recruit colleagues, such as Richard Mayo-Smith and Edwin Seligman, who had embraced both German historicism and statistical study.
The third and perhaps most important inspiration came from the proto-institutionalist thinking of the public finance economist, Edwin Seligman, who Beard himself would single out as a major influence on the writing of An Economic Interpretation.
If Goodnow and Robinson reinforced much of Beard's innate historical realism by providing a model of engaged scholarship, Edwin Seligman and his writings shaped and clarified Beard's commitment to analyzing economic interests and forces.