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

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.

Featured

Introducing It’s A Wonderful Loaf – An Animated Film About Emergent Order

by Russell Robertsvia Policyed.org
Monday, May 8, 2017

It's a Wonderful Loaf is an animated short film by Hoover fellow Russ Roberts. It is an ode to the hidden harmony that is all around us. The seemingly magical ways that we anticipate and meet the needs of each other without anyone being in charge.

 

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler Cowen On The Complacent Class

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 8, 2017

Author and economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, The Complacent Class.

Analysis and Commentary

Jennifer Pahlka On Code For America

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 1, 2017

Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the organization she started. Code for America works with private sector tech people to bring technology to the provision of government services. 

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The Human Side of Trade

by Russell Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

In a dynamic economy, short-term pain is real. But over the longer term? Free trade leads to better, richer lives. 

Analysis and Commentary

Elizabeth Pape On Manufacturing And Selling Women's Clothing And Elizabeth Suzann

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 24, 2017

Elizabeth Pape, founder of the women's clothing company Elizabeth Suzann, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about starting and running her company--a manufacturer and seller of high-end women's clothing in Nashville, Tennessee. The conversation chronicles the ups and downs of her entrepreneurial story, the recent evolution of the women's clothing market, and the challenge of competition from lower quality, lower-priced products.

Analysis and Commentary

Rana Foroohar On The Financial Sector And Makers And Takers

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 17, 2017

Journalist and author Rana Foroohar of the Financial Times talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Makers and Takers. Foroohar argues that finance has become an increasingly powerful part of the U.S. economy and has handicapped the growth and effectiveness of manufacturing and the rest of the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Erica Sandberg On Homelessness And Downtown Streets Team

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 10, 2017

Podcaster and writer Erica Sandberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about homelessness in San Francisco. Sandberg talks about what the city can do about homelessness and her experience with Downtown Streets Team, which gives homeless people in the Bay Area the chance to work in exchange for gift cards that let them buy food and other basics.

Analysis and Commentary

Vanessa Williamson On Taxes And Read My Lips

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 3, 2017

Are Americans overtaxed? How does the average American feel about the tax system and tax reform? Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Read My Lips.

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