Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson

Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson

(sĕl`ĭgmən), 1861–1939, American economist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Columbia, 1885. As professor (1885–1931) at Columbia, he edited the "Columbia University Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law" and the Political Science Quarterly. He was editor in chief of the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (15 vol., 1930–35). An expert on public finance, he acted on many tax commissions and in 1931 was financial adviser to the Cuban government. His works include The Shifting and Incidence of Taxation (1892, 5th ed. 1927), Essays in Taxation (1895, 10th ed. 1925), The Economic Interpretation of History (1902, 2d ed. 1924), Principles of Economics (1905, 12th ed. 1929), and The Economics of Farm Relief (1929).


See R. G. Hoxie et al., History of the Faculty of Political Science, Columbia University (1955).

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.)