Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman

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Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman, 1910.jpg

Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman (1861-1939), was an American economist who spent his entire academic career at Columbia University in New York City. Seligman is best remembered for his pioneering work involving taxation and public finance.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Edwin Seligman was born April 25, 1861 in New York City, the son of a banker named Joseph Seligman.

Seligman attended Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1879 with a A.B..[1] Seligman continued his studies in Europe, attending courses for three years at the universities of Berlin, Heidelberg, Geneva, and Paris.[2] He earned his M.A. and LL.B. degrees in 1885 and successfully defended a Ph.D. in 1885.[1] He later was awarded a LL.D. in 1904.

Career[edit]

Seligman spent his entire academic career at Columbia University, first joining as a lecturer in 1885.[1] He was made an adjunct professor of political economy in 1888.[2] He became the first McVickar Professor of Political Economy at the same university in 1904, a position which he occupied until 1931.[1]

Seligman's academic work dealt largely with matters of taxation and public finance, and he was regarded as a leading proponent of the progressive income tax.[1] He also taught courses at Columbia in the field of economic history.[1]

From 1886 Seligman was one of the editors of the Political Science Quarterly. He also edited Columbia's series in history, economics, and public law from 1890.

Seligman was a founder of the American Economic Association and served as president of that organization from 1902 to 1904.[1] He was also a key figure behind the formation of the American Association of University Professors, serving as that group's president from 1919 to 1920.[1]

Seligman dedicated a great deal of effort to the question of public finance during World War I and was a prominent advocate of the establishment of a progressive income tax as a basis for the funding of government operations.

Although a proponent of the economic interpretation of history, commonly associated with Marxism, Seligman was an opponent of socialism and appeared in public debates opposing prominent radical figures during the early 1920s, including such figures as Scott Nearing and Harry Waton.[3]

Seligman's later academic work revolved around questions of tax policy and consumer finance.

Death and legacy[edit]

Edwin Seligman died July 18, 1939.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Leon Applebaum, "Edwin R. A. Seligman," in John D. Buenker and Edward R. Kantowicz (eds.), Historical Dictionary of the Progressive Era, 1890-1920. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988; pp. 425-426.
  2. ^ a b Encyclopedia Britannica: Volume 24. 11th Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Co., 1911.
  3. ^ See the published stenograms of debates with Nearing (1921) and Waton (1922).

Works[edit]

Books and pamphlets[edit]

Selected articles[edit]

  • "Economists," in Cambridge History of English and American Literature, 1907.
  • "The Crisis of 1907 in the Light of History," in Edwin R.A. Seligman (ed.), The Currency Problem and the Present Financial Situation: A Series of Addresses Delivered at Columbia University 1907-1908. New York: Columbia University Press, 1908.
  • "Recent Reports on State and Local Taxation," American Economic Review, 1911.
  • "The Crisis in Social Evolution," in Albert Bushnell Hart, et al., Problems of Readjustment After the War. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1915.
  • "Tax Exemption Through Tax Capitalization: A Reply," American Economic Review, 1916.
  • "How to Finance the War," in E.R.A. Seligman, et al., War Finance Primer. New York: National Bank of Commerce in New York, May 1917.
  • "Loans versus Taxes in War Finance," in Financing the War. Philadelphia: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 75, 1918.
  • "Who is the Twentieth Century Mandeville?" American Economic Review, 1918.
  • "Are Stock Dividends Income?" American Economic Review, 1919.
  • "The Cost of the War and How It Was Met," American Economic Review, vol. 9, no. 4 (Dec. 1919), pp. 739–770.