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

Richard A. Epstein
Featured

Richard Epstein On Cruises, First-Class Travel, And Inequality

by Russell Robertsinterview with Richard A. Epsteinvia EconTalk
Monday, June 27, 2016

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts interviews Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein about cruise lines that offer special amenities for top-paying travelers as well as first-class sections of airplanes. They note that these kinds of unequal treatment provide benefits beyond those who receive the top-of-the-line option. The conversation then moves on to a general discussion of inequality, taxation, and redistribution.

Analysis and Commentary

Kevin Kelly On The Inevitable

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 20, 2016

Futurist, author, and visionary Kevin Kelly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Inevitable, Kelly's look at what the future might be like and the role of the human experience in a world increasingly filled with information, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the connecting of the planet's population.

Analysis and Commentary

Abby Smith Rumsey On Remembering, Forgetting, And When We Are No More

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 13, 2016

You might think your tweets on Twitter belong to you. But in 2010, the Library of Congress acquired the entire archive of Twitter. Why would such a majestic library acquire such seemingly ephemeral material?

Analysis and Commentary

Jason Zweig On Finance And The Devil's Financial Dictionary

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 6, 2016

Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal and author of The Devil's Financial Dictionary talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about finance, financial journalism and Zweig's new book.

Housing
Analysis and Commentary

David Beckworth On Money, Monetary Policy, And The Great Recession

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 30, 2016

Was the Financial Crisis of 2008 caused by a crisis in the housing market? Or did the Federal Reserve turn a garden-variety recession into the Great Recession? David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Fed's response to the recession that began in December of 2007 and worsened in 2008.

harmony bridge team
Analysis and Commentary

James Bessen On Learning By Doing

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 23, 2016

Are workers being left behind when the economy grows? Is technology making the human workforce obsolete? James Bessen, author of Learning by Doing, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of learning on the job in the past and in the present.

Analysis and Commentary

Leif Wenar On Blood Oil

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 16, 2016

Should the United States allow its citizens to buy oil from countries run by bad men? Is this a case where morality trumps the usual case for free trade?

Analysis and Commentary

Pedro Domingos On Machine Learning And The Master Algorithm

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 9, 2016

What is machine learning? How is it transforming our lives and workplaces? What might the future hold? Pedro Domingos of the University of Washington and author of The Master Algorithm talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the present and future of machine learning.

Analysis and Commentary

Sympathy For Homo Religiosus

by Russell Robertsvia Econ Journal Watch
Thursday, May 5, 2016

What might religion do to improve our understanding of economics and human behavior? Here I contrast the mainstream economics view of choice and behavior with the religious view. In the mainstream economics view, human beings are rational calculating maximizers of utility.

Featured

Arnold Kling On Specialization And Trade

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 2, 2016

Arnold Kling, economist and author, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Specialization and Trade: A Reintroduction to Economics.

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