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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Other Media

Alvin Roth On Matching Markets

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 6, 2015

Nobel Laureate Alvin Roth of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on matching markets. Examples include marriage, matching kidney donors to kidney recipients, and students to schools in cities that allow choice in their public school systems.

an image
Other Media

Matt Ridley On Climate Change

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 29, 2015

Science writer and author Matt Ridley discusses climate change with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Blogs

Krugman Is Human, Just Like Me

by Russell Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Krugman has responded to my claims about empirical evidence, confirmation bias, and the lack of science in macro policy discussions. Here’s the argument so far.

Other Media

Adam Davidson On Hollywood And The Future Of Work

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 15, 2015

What's it like to hang out with Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell for two months? Adam Davidson, who writes for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, was the technical advisor to the upcoming movie, The Big Short.

Bitcoins
Other Media

Nathaniel Popper On Bitcoin And Digital Gold

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 8, 2015

Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times and the author of Digital Gold talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Bitcoin.

Other Media

Martin Weitzman On Climate Change

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 1, 2015

Is climate change the ultimate Black Swan? Martin Weitzman of Harvard University and co-author of Climate Shock talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the risks of climate change. Weitzman argues that climate change is a fat-tailed phenomenon--there is a non-trivial risk of a catastrophe. Though Weitzman concedes that our knowledge of the climate is quite incomplete, he suggests that it is prudent to take serious measures, including possibly geo-engineering, to reduce the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Other Media

Bent Flyvbjerg On Megaprojects

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 25, 2015

Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political economy of megaprojects--massive investments of a billion dollars or more in infrastructure or technology. Flyvbjerg argues that such projects consistently end up costing more with smaller benefits than projected and almost always end up with costs that exceed the benefits. Flyvbjerg explores the reasons for the poor predictions and poor performance of giant investment projects and what might be done to improve their effectiveness.

Other Media

Nicholas Vincent On The Magna Carta

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 18, 2015

Did an 800-year old piece of parchment really change the world? Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Magna Carta, the founding document of English law and liberty. The Magna Carta was repudiated just ten weeks after King John issued it. Yet, its impact is still with us today. In this conversation, Vincent explains what led to the Magna Carta and how its influence remains with us today in England and elsewhere.

Football in motion over grass
Blogs

The Patriots And Confirmation Bias

by Russell Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I really wanted the Wells Report to exonerate the Patriots. It did not. So being a huge Patriots fan, I read the Report carefully hoping to find a flaw. At first, I thought the engineering consulting firm, Exponent, had left a huge puzzle unexplored–while it’s true that the Pats balls apparently deflated a lot more than the Colts balls after being used in the first half, they seemed to deflate a lot less than the physics would predict. This would imply some kind of measurement error.

Healthcare Costs
Other Media

Eric Topol On The Power Of Patients In A Digital World

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 11, 2015

We're in the middle of a healthcare revolution but it's about more than marvelous life-saving and life-enhancing apps on our smartphone. Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Patient Will See You Now argues that the digital revolution will give us more control of our health information and data.

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