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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Robin Feldman On Drug Patents, Generics, And Drug Wars

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 26, 2017

Robin Feldman of the University of California Hastings College of Law and author of Drug Wars talks about her book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Feldman explores the various ways that pharmaceutical companies try to reduce competition from generic drugs. The conversation includes a discussion of the Hatch-Waxman Act and the sometimes crazy world of patent protection.

Analysis and Commentary

Nancy MacLean Owes Tyler Cowen An Apology

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nancy Maclean’s book, Democracy in Chains, describes Nobel laureate James Buchanan as a shill for the Koch Brothers who worked to advance a far-right agenda that threatens democracy to this day.

Analysis and Commentary

The Three Blind Spots Of Politics

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Sunday, June 25, 2017

One of the shortest, simplest yet deepest books I have read on politics is The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling. It’s a mere 146 pages and you can have it on your Kindle for a mere $3.99. This is a new and (slightly) expanded edition.

Featured

It’s A Wonderful Loaf

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Monday, June 19, 2017

This is my ode to emergent order and the surprising effectiveness of undesigned and uncoordinated cooperation — the web of specialization and decision-making that feeds a great city. 

Analysis and Commentary

Thomas Ricks On Churchill And Orwell

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 19, 2017

Author and historian Thomas Ricks talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Churchill and Orwell. Ricks makes the case that the odd couple of Winston Churchill and George Orwell played and play an important role in preserving individual liberty. 

Featured

Don Boudreaux, Michael Munger, And Russ Roberts On Emergent Order

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 12, 2017

Why is it that people in large cities like Paris or New York City people sleep peacefully, unworried about whether there will be enough bread or other necessities available for purchase the next morning? No one is in charge--no bread czar. No flour czar.

Analysis and Commentary

Christy Ford Chapin On The Evolution of the American Health Care System

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Historian Christy Ford Chapin of University of Maryland Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins and author of Ensuring America's Health talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book--a history of how America's health care system came to be dominated by insurance companies or government agencies paying doctors per procedure. 

Analysis and Commentary

David Boaz, P.J. O'Rourke, And George Will On The State Of Liberty

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 29, 2017

What is the state of liberty in America? Is liberty increasing or decreasing? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future? This week EconTalk features David Boaz, P. J. O'Rourke, and George Will discussing these questions and more with EconTalk host Russ Roberts in front of a live audience at the Cato Institute.

Analysis and Commentary

Lant Pritchett On Poverty, Growth, And Experiments

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 22, 2017

How should we think about growth and poverty? How important is the goal of reducing the proportion of the world's population living on less than a dollar a day? Does poverty persist because people lack skills or because they live in economic systems where skills are not rewarded?

Analysis and Commentary

Cass Sunstein On #Republic

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 15, 2017

Author and legal scholar Cass Sunstein of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, #Republic. Sunstein argues that the internet has encouraged people to frequent informational echo chambers where their views are reinforced and rarely challenged.

Pages