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

Michael Munger On The Basic Income Guarantee

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 16, 2017

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues and negatives of a basic guaranteed income--giving every American adult an annual amount of money to guarantee a subsistence level of well-being. How would such a plan work?

Featured

Robert Hall On Recession, Stagnation, And Monetary Policy

by Russell Robertsinterview with Robert E. Hallvia EconTalk
Monday, January 9, 2017

Hoover Institution fellow and Stanford University economist Robert Hall talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of the U.S. economy and what we know and don't know about the recovery from the Great Recession. Much of the conversation focuses on the choices facing the Federal Reserve and the policy instruments the Fed has available.

Analysis and Commentary

Mark Warshawsky On Compensation, Health Care Costs, And Inequality

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 2, 2017

Economist and author Mark Warshawsky of George Mason University's Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on the role health care benefits play in measuring inequality.

Analysis and Commentary

Chris Blattman On Sweatshops

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, December 26, 2016

If you were a poor person in a poor country, would you prefer steady work in a factory or to be your own boss, buying and selling in the local market?

Analysis and Commentary

Notable & Quotable: The Human Side Of Trade

by Russell Robertsvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 19, 2016

[Subscription Required] ‘Suppose a scientist invents a pill that once you take it lets you live until 120.’

Featured

Terry Anderson On Native American Economics

by Russell Robertsinterview with Terry Andersonvia EconTalk
Monday, December 19, 2016

Terry Anderson of PERC talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about economic life for Native Americans. Anderson discusses economic life before the arrival of Europeans and how current policy affects Native Americans living on reservations today.

Analysis and Commentary

The Human Side Of Trade

by Russell Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The depressingly inaccurate standard story of trade these days is that we got cheap toys and gadgets from China and in return, we destroyed millions of American jobs, particularly in manufacturing. If this increasingly common view of trade were the whole story, I too, would start to question the virtues of free trade.

Featured

The Human Side Of Trade

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Monday, December 12, 2016

Free trade is on the run. The president-elect of the United States calls the free market the “dumb market.” He wants to renegotiate past trade deals. The death spiral of manufacturing jobs makes people wonder if trade with China was really such a good idea. Some economists claim to have found evidence that increased trade with China causes an increase in suicide.

Analysis and Commentary

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita On The Spoils Of War

by Russell Robertsfeaturing Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia EconTalk
Monday, December 12, 2016

There is a fascinating and depressing positive correlation between the reputation of an American president and the number of people dying in wars while that president is in office. Political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and co-author of The Spoils of War talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how presidents go to war. 

Analysis and Commentary

Thomas Leonard On Race, Eugenics, And Illiberal Reformers

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, December 5, 2016

Were the first professional economists racists? Thomas Leonard of Princeton University and author of Illiberal Reformers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--a portrait of the progressive movement and its early advocates at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.

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