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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The Human Side of Trade

by Russell Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

In a dynamic economy, short-term pain is real. But over the longer term? Free trade leads to better, richer lives. 

Analysis and Commentary

Elizabeth Pape On Manufacturing And Selling Women's Clothing And Elizabeth Suzann

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 24, 2017

Elizabeth Pape, founder of the women's clothing company Elizabeth Suzann, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about starting and running her company--a manufacturer and seller of high-end women's clothing in Nashville, Tennessee. The conversation chronicles the ups and downs of her entrepreneurial story, the recent evolution of the women's clothing market, and the challenge of competition from lower quality, lower-priced products.

Analysis and Commentary

Rana Foroohar On The Financial Sector And Makers And Takers

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 17, 2017

Journalist and author Rana Foroohar of the Financial Times talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Makers and Takers. Foroohar argues that finance has become an increasingly powerful part of the U.S. economy and has handicapped the growth and effectiveness of manufacturing and the rest of the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Erica Sandberg On Homelessness And Downtown Streets Team

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 10, 2017

Podcaster and writer Erica Sandberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about homelessness in San Francisco. Sandberg talks about what the city can do about homelessness and her experience with Downtown Streets Team, which gives homeless people in the Bay Area the chance to work in exchange for gift cards that let them buy food and other basics.

Analysis and Commentary

Vanessa Williamson On Taxes And Read My Lips

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 3, 2017

Are Americans overtaxed? How does the average American feel about the tax system and tax reform? Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Read My Lips.

Analysis and Commentary

Jason Barr On Building The Skyline And The Economics Of Skyscrapers

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 27, 2017

Why does the Manhattan skyline look like it does with incredible skyscrapers south of City Hall then almost no tall buildings until midtown? Jason Barr of Rutgers University-Newark and author of Building the Skyline talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of Manhattan as a place to live and work, and the mix of individual choices and government policy that created the skyline of Manhattan.

Analysis and Commentary

Andrew Gelman On Social Science, Small Samples, And The Garden Of The Forking Paths

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 20, 2017

Statistician, blogger, and author Andrew Gelman of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges facing psychologists and economists when using small samples. On the surface, finding statistically significant results in a small sample would seem to be extremely impressive and would make one even more confident that a larger sample would find even stronger evidence.

Analysis and Commentary

Robert Whaples On The Economics Of Pope Francis

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 13, 2017

Is capitalism part of the poverty problem facing the world or part of the solution? Are human beings doing a good job preserving the earth for future generations?

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Crafts, Garicano, And Zingales On The Economic Future Of Europe

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 6, 2017

What is the future of the European economy? What are the challenges facing Europe? What are the implications of Brexit for the United Kingdom and the rest of the Europe? EconTalk host Russ Roberts discusses these questions and more in front of a live audience at the Hoover Institution's conference on Restoring Prosperity: Contemporary And Historical Perspectives held on February 9.

Featured

What Do Economists Know?

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Thursday, March 2, 2017

A journalist once asked me how many jobs NAFTA had created or destroyed. I told him I had no reliable idea. Certainly jobs had been lost when factories closed and moved to Mexico but other jobs had been gained because Americans now had more resources and increased their demand for products that would not be easy to identify.

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