Russell Roberts

John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow
Biography: 

Russell Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Roberts hosts the weekly podcast EconTalk--hour-long conversations with authors, economists, and business leaders. Past guests include Milton Friedman, Nassim Taleb, Christopher Hitchens, Marc Andreessen, Joseph Stiglitz, and John Bogle. EconTalk was named podcast of the year in the 2008 Weblog Awards. Over 425 episodes are available at EconTalk.org and on iTunes at no charge.

His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than seven million views on YouTube, been subtitled in eleven languages, and are used in high school and college classrooms around the world. 

His latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (Portfolio/Penguin 2014). It takes the lessons from Adam Smith's little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and applies them to modern life.  

He is also the author of three economic novels teaching economic lessons and ideas through fiction. The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (Princeton University Press, 2008) tells the story of wealth creation and the unseen forces around us creating and sustaining economic opportunity. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (MIT Press, 2002) looks at corporate responsibility and a wide array of policy issues including anti-poverty programs, consumer protection, and the morality of the marketplace. His first book, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (Prentice Hall, 3rd edition, 2006) is on international trade policy and the human consequences of international trade. It was named one of the top ten books of 1994 by Business Week and one of the best books of 1994 by the Financial Times.

A three-time teacher of the year, Roberts has taught at George Mason University, Washington University in St. Louis (where he was the founding director of what is now the Center for Experiential Learning), the University of Rochester, Stanford University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a national fellow and visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution from 1985 to 1987. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Analysis and Commentary

Timothy Taylor On Government Vs. Business

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 1, 2016

Timothy Taylor, blogger at the Conversable Economist and editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of government and business in taking care of workers and creating economic growth.

Analysis and Commentary

James Heckman On Facts, Evidence, And The State Of Econometrics

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 25, 2016

Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of econometrics and the challenges of measurement in assessing economic theories and public policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Josh Luber On Sneakers, Sneakerheads, And The Second-Hand Market

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 18, 2016

How many pairs of sneakers do you own? Josh Luber of Campless and StockX talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of sneakerheads--people passionate for collecting and trading sneakers. Each week people line up to buy classic sneaker models Nike re-releases.

Analysis and Commentary

Greg Ip On Foolproof

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 11, 2016

When does the pursuit of safety lead us into danger? Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal and author of Foolproof talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book--the way we publicly and privately try to cope with risk and danger and how those choices can create unintended consequences.

Analysis and Commentary

George Selgin On Monetary Policy And The Great Recession

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, December 14, 2015

Did Ben Bernanke and the Fed save the U.S. economy from disaster in 2008 or did the Fed make things worse? Why did the Fed reward banks that kept reserves rather than releasing funds into the economy? George Selgin of the Cato Institute tries to answer these questions and more in this conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Analysis and Commentary

Canice Prendergast On How Prices Can Improve A Food Fight (And Help The Poor)

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, December 7, 2015

If you have 250 million tons of food to give away every year to local food banks how should you do it? Canice Prendergast of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how he and a team of economists created an artificial currency and a daily auction for the national food bank Feeding America so that local food banks could bid on the types of food that were the most valuable to them.

Analysis and Commentary

David Mindell On Our Robots, Ourselves

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 30, 2015

Are we on the verge of driverless cars and other forms of autonomous robots and artificial intelligence? David Mindell of MIT and the author of Our Robots, Ourselves talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the robotic revolution.

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Munger On EconTalk's 500th Episode

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 23, 2015

Michael Munger of Duke University makes his 29th appearance on the 500th episode of EconTalk alongside EconTalk host Russ Roberts. He talks about his personal intellectual journey, his interest in public choice, and Unicorn economics. 

Analysis and Commentary

Brian Nosek On The Reproducibility Project

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 16, 2015

Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia and the Center for Open Science talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Reproducibility Project--an effort to reproduce the findings of 100 articles in three top psychology journals.

Analysis and Commentary

Robert Aronowitz On Risky Medicine

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 9, 2015

Should women get routine mammograms? Should men get regular PSA exams? Robert Aronowitz of the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Risky Medicine talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the increasing focus on risk reduction rather than health itself as a goal.

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