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

Gabriel Zucman On Inequality, Growth, And Distributional National Accounts

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 18, 2017

Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley talks with Hoover Institution fellow and EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research on inequality and the distribution of income in the United States over the last 35 years. Zucman finds that there has been no change in income for the bottom half of the income...

Analysis and Commentary

The World Turned Upside Down (And What To Do About It)

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The current state of the country and the current state of political and intellectual conversation depresses me in a way that it never has before. You have to understand — I’m never happy with the state of the country — that’s the inevitable fate of holding an ideological position that rarely gets any traction — I’m a classical liberal who’d like government to be dramatically smaller than it is now.

Analysis and Commentary

Gillian Hadfield On Law And Rules For A Flat World

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 11, 2017

Law professor Gillian Hadfield of the University of Southern California and author of Rules for a Flat World talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book for regulating the digital future. Hadfield suggests the competitive provision of regulation with government oversight as a way to improve the flexibility and effectiveness of regulation in the dynamic digital world we are living in.

Analysis and Commentary

Rob Reich On Foundations And Philanthropy

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 4, 2017

Is private charity always a good thing? Do large foundations have too much power? Political Scientist Rob Reich of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the power and effectiveness of foundations--large collections of wealth typically created and funded by a wealthy donor.

Analysis and Commentary

Write A Song With My Dad

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Sunday, September 3, 2017

My dad is 87 years old. His dad was a peddler who dropped out of school in the sixth grade but who read Shakespeare and Macauley and Sir Walter Scott. My dad was the first person in his family to go to college. He entered the computer business in 1957 or so and ended up working on early warning systems trying to figure out where a Soviet missile might land if they launched a nuclear attack. 

Analysis and Commentary

Benedict Evans On The Future Of Cars

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 28, 2017

Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about two important trends for the future of personal travel--the increasing number of electric cars and a world of autonomous vehicles. Evans talks about how these two trends are likely to continue and the implications for the economy, urban design, and how we live.

Analysis and Commentary

John McWhorter On The Evolution Of Language And Words On The Move

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 21, 2017

How did bad come to mean good? Why is Shakespeare so hard to understand? Is there anything good about "like" and "you know?" Author and professor John McWhorter of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unplanned ways that English speakers create English, an example of emergent order. Topics discussed include how words get short (but not too short), the demand for vividness in language, and why Shakespeare is so hard to understand.

Featured

Nassim Nicholas Taleb On Work, Slavery, The Minority Rule, And Skin In The Game

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 14, 2017

Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the manuscript version of his forthcoming book, Skin in the Game

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler Cowen On Stubborn Attachments, Prosperity, And The Good Society

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 7, 2017

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and the co-host of the blog Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stubborn Attachments, his book-length treatment of how to think about public policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Alex Guarnaschelli On Food

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 31, 2017

Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Channel star and chef at Butter in midtown Manhattan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what it's like to run a restaurant, the challenges of a career in cooking, her favorite dishes, her least favorite dishes, and what she cooked to beat Bobby Flay.

Pages