Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman
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.
Seligman attended Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1879 with a A.B.. Seligman continued his studies in Europe, attending courses for three years at the universities of Berlin, Heidelberg, Geneva, and Paris. He earned his M.A. and LL.B. degrees in 1885 and successfully defended a Ph.D. in 1885. He later was awarded a LL.D. in 1904.
Seligman spent his entire academic career at Columbia University, first joining as a lecturer in 1885. He was made an adjunct professor of political economy in 1888. He became the first McVickar Professor of Political Economy at the same university in 1904, a position which he occupied until 1931.
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. He also taught courses at Columbia in the field of economic history.
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. 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.
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.
Seligman's later academic work revolved around questions of tax policy and consumer finance.
Death and legacy
Edwin Seligman died July 18, 1939.
- 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.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Volume 24. 11th Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Co., 1911.
- See the published stenograms of debates with Nearing (1921) and Waton (1922).
Books and pamphlets
- Railway Tariffs and the Interstate Commerce Act. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1887.
- The General Property Tax. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1890.
- Progressive Taxation in Theory and Practice (1894). Second Edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1908.
- The Shifting and Incidence of Taxation (1899). Second Edition. New York: Macmillan, 1902.
- Report of the Committee of Economists on the dismissal of Professor Ross from Leland Stanford Junior University. Detroit?: The Committee?, 1901.
- The Economic Interpretation of History. New York: Macmillan, 1902.
- Essays in Taxation. New York: Macmillan, 1905.
- Principles of Economics: With Special Reference to American Conditions. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1905.
- The Income Tax: A Study of the History, Theory and Practice of Income Taxation at Home and Abroad. New York: Macmillan, 1911.
- The Social Evil: With Special Reference to Conditions Existing in the City of New York. (Editor.) New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1912.
- An Economic Interpretation of the War. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1915.
- The Next Step in Tax Reform: Presidential Address of Edwin R. A. Seligman, LL. D., Delivered at the Ninth Annual Conference of the National Tax Association, San Francisco, August 11, 1915. New York: National Tax Association, 1915.
- A University School of Business. New York: Columbia University Press, 1916.
- Financial Mobilization for War: Papers Presented at a Joint Conference of the Western Economic Society and the City Club of Chicago, June 21 and 22, 1917. (Editor.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1917.
- The House Revenue Bill: A Constructive Criticism. New York: Division of Intelligence and Publicity of Columbia University, 1917.
- Currency Inflation and Public Debts: An Historical Sketch. New York: Equitable Trust Company of New York, 1921.
- A Public Debate: Capitalism vs. Socialism: Professor Edwin R.A. Seligman, Columbia University, vs. Professor Scott Nearing, Rand School of Social Science. New York: The Fine Arts Guild, 1922.
- Stenographer's Report of the Selig vs. Waton Debate. New York: Marx-Engels Institute, 1922.
- Studies in Public Finance. New York: Macmillan, 1925.
- Essays in Economics. New York: Macmillan, 1925.
- The Economics of Instalment Selling: A Study in Consumers' Credit, with Special Reference to the Automobile. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1927.
- The Economics of Farm Relief: A Survey of the Agricultural Problem. New York: Columbia University Press, 1929.
- Price Cutting and Price Maintenance: A Study in Economics. With Robert Alonzo Love. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1932.
- A Report on the Revenue System of Cuba. With Carl S. Shoup. Havana: Talleres tipográficos de Carasa y cía., 1932
- "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.