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

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?

Featured

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.

Analysis and Commentary

Paul Bloom On Empathy

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 27, 2017

Psychologist Paul Bloom of Yale University talks about his book Against Empathy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Bloom argues that empathy--the ability to feel the emotions of others--is a bad guide to charitable giving and public policy.

Analysis and Commentary

The More Things Change

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Thursday, February 23, 2017

People are worried that in the internet age, our attention spans are too short, the pace of life is too fast, and we use our time in superficial ways. I’ve recently come across two examples of this being a very old worry.

Analysis and Commentary

Tom Wainwright On Narconomics

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 20, 2017

Journalist and author Tom Wainwright of the Economist and author of Narconomics talks with Hoover Institution fellow and EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ways that the drug cartels respond to government attempts to reduce the availability of drugs.

Bitcoins
Analysis and Commentary

Jim Epstein On Bitcoin, The Blockchain, And Freedom In Latin America

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 13, 2017

Writer, reporter, and film producer Jim Epstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about mining Bitcoins in Venezuela as a way to import food. Venezuela is a tragicomic example of how policy can lead to strange and presumably unexpected outcomes.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Bill Belichick Just Lucky?

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Before this last Super Bowl, a friend said to me that Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, is the greatest coach of all time. Maybe, I said. Or maybe he’s just lucky.

Analysis and Commentary

Gary Taubes On The Case Against Sugar

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 6, 2017

Sugar appears to have no nutritional value. But is it more than just empty calories? Is it actually bad for us? Author and journalist Gary Taubes talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Case Against Sugar.

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