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George A. Selgin (born 1957) is a professor of economics in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, and an associate editor of Econ Journal Watch.[1] Selgin formerly taught at George Mason University, the University of Hong Kong, and West Virginia University.

Selgin's principal research areas are monetary and banking theory, monetary history, and macroeconomics. He is one of the founders, along with Kevin Dowd and Lawrence H. White, of the Modern Free Banking School,[1] which draws its inspiration from the writings of Friedrich Hayek on denationalization of money and choice in currency.[2] A central claim of the Free Banking School is that the effects of government intervention in monetary systems cannot be properly appreciated except with reference to a theory of monetary laissez-faire, analogous to the theory of free trade that informs the modern understanding of the effects of tariffs and other trade barriers.[3] The free bankers argue that, viewed in light of such a theory, financial crises and business cycles are largely attributable to misguided government interference with freely-evolved and competitive monetary arrangements, including legislation granting central banks exclusive rights to issue paper currency.[4]

Selgin is also known for his research on coinage, including studies of Gresham's Law[5] and of private minting of coins during Great Britain's Industrial Revolution,[6] and for his advocacy of a "productivity norm" for monetary policy--a plan that would have policymakers target the growth-rate of nominal gross domestic product at a level that would allow the overall price level to decline along with goods' real (unit) costs of production. According to Selgin, by preventing mild deflation in response to productivity gains, monetary authorities risk inadvertently fueling unsustainable booms or economic bubbles, setting the stage for consequent busts and recession.[7]




  • ISBN 978-0-472-11631-7 Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage (2008)
  • ISBN 0-415-14056-0 Bank Deregulation and Monetary Order (1996)
  • ISBN 0-255-36402-4 Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy (1997)
  • ISBN 0-536-58930-5 Readings in Money and Banking (1995)
  • ISBN 0-8476-7578-5 The Theory of Free Banking: Money Supply under Competitive Note Issue (1988)


  1. ^ Gedeon, Shirley (1997). "The modern free banking school: a review". Journal of Economic Issues 31.;col1. 
  2. ^ Hayek, Friedrich (1976). Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. 
  3. ^ Selgin, George; Lawrence H. White (December 1994). "How would the invisible hand handle money?". Journal of Economic Literature 32 (4): 1718–49. 
  4. ^ E.g., Selgin, George (Fall 1989). "Legal restrictions, financial weakening, and the lender of last resort". The Cato Journal 9 (2). 
  5. ^ "Gresham's Law". EH.Net Encyclopedia. June 9, 2003. 
  6. ^ Selgin, George (2008). Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press and the Independent Institute. ISBN 0-4721-1631-2. 
  7. ^ White, William H. (2006). "Is price stability enough?". BIS Working Paper 205 (Basel, Switzerland: Bank for International Settlements). 

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