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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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Doug Lemov On Reading

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 28, 2016

Doug Lemov of Uncommon School and co-author of Reading Reconsidered talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about reading.

Analysis and Commentary

Erik Hurst On Work, Play, And The Dynamics Of U.S. Labor Markets

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 21, 2016

Erik Hurst of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the labor market in the United States. Hurst notes dramatic changes in employment rates for men and speculates about the causes. Two factors discussed in detail are declines in the manufacturing sector and the rise of high-end video games as a form of leisure.

Analysis and Commentary

Tim Harford On The Virtues Of Disorder And Messy

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 14, 2016

Tim Harford, journalist and author, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Messy.

Analysis and Commentary

David Gelernter On Consciousness, Computers, And The Tides Of Mind

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 7, 2016

David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale University and author of The Tides of Mind, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about consciousness and how our minds evolve through the course of the day and as we grow up.

Analysis and Commentary

Judith Donath On Signaling, Design, And The Social Machine

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 31, 2016

Judith Donath, author of The Social Machine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book--an examination of signaling, online identity, and online community. Donath argues that design elements in technology play a key role in our interactions with one another.

Featured

Casey Mulligan On Cuba

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 24, 2016

Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about life in Cuba.

Analysis and Commentary

Chris Arnade On The Mexican Crisis, TARP, And American Poverty

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 17, 2016

Chris Arnade, former Wall Street trader turned photographer and social chronicler, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what he learned from the front lines of the financial industry in the 1990s and 2000s when everything slowly and then very quickly began to fall apart.

Analysis and Commentary

Wanting To Want What We Want

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Thursday, October 13, 2016

I have been thinking about consciousness recently. What is the source of human consciousness? Is it merely physical? Can it be uploaded? Duplicated via artificial intelligence? Will machines get conscious enough to feel and to care the way we do?

Analysis and Commentary

Angus Deaton On Inequality, Trade, And The Robin Hood Principle

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 10, 2016

Nobel Laureate in Economics Angus Deaton of Princeton University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of trade and aid. Deaton wonders if economists should re-think the widely-held view that redistribution from rich nations to poor nations makes the world a better place. 

Analysis and Commentary

Cathy O'Neil On Weapons Of Math Destruction

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 3, 2016

Cathy O'Neil, data scientist and author of Weapons of Math Destruction talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book. O'Neil argues that the commercial application of big data often harms individuals in unknown ways.

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