Birthplace Erlangen, Germany.
Posts Held Teacher, Vienna, Hamburg, Dorpat, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1858-70; Prof. Polit. Econ., Univ. Berlin, 1870-1917.
Degrees Dr Univ. Göttingen, 1857.
Offices and Honours Founder, Verein für Sozialpolitik, 1872; Member, Lower House, Prussian Diet, 1882-5; Member Upper House, 1910-1917.
Publications Books: 1. Beiträge zur Lehre von den Banken (1857); 2. Die Geld- und Credittheorie der Peel'schen Bankacte (1862); 3. Finazwissenschaft, 4 vols (1871-2); 4. Theoretische Socialökonomik, 2 vols (1907-9); 5. Adolph Wagner, Briefe, Dokumente, Augenzeugenberichte 1851-1971, ed. H. Rubner (1978).
Career Conservative critic of laissez faire economics who sought by the intervention of the State to secure social justice for the working classes. His economics was based on theoretical principles and he was largely on the Austrian side in the 'Methodenstreit'. His greatest contribution was in public finance where he integrated the subject with general economics and gave it strong theoretical principles. He stressed the redistributive potential of taxation and accepted the growth of public expenditure by the modern State. He also made important contributions to monetary and banking policy.
Secondary Literature G. Meyer, `Wagner, Adolf', International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences , D. L. Sills (ed.) (Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), vol. 16; Classics in the Theory of Public Finance, eds. R. A. Musgrave and A. T. Peacock (Macmillan, 1958).