Russ Roberts

John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow
Biography: 

Russ Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. 

He founded the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk in 2006. Past guests include Milton Friedman, Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Piketty, Christopher Hitchens, Bill James, Nassim Taleb, Michael Lewis, and Mariana Mazzucato. All 675+ episodes remain available free of charge at EconTalk.org and reach an audience of over 100,000 listeners around the world.

His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than 10 million YouTube views, have been subtitled in 11 languages, and are used in high school and college classrooms around the world. His poem and animated video “It’s a Wonderful Loaf” (wonderfulloaf.org) is an ode to emergent order. His series on the challenge of using data to establish truth, The Numbers Game, can be found at PolicyEd.org. 

His latest book is Gambling with Other People's Money: How Perverse Incentives Caused the Financial Crisis (Hoover Institution Press, 2019). His book How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness takes the lessons from Adam Smith's little-known masterpiece The Theory of Moral Sentiments and applies them to modern life.

Roberts is the author of three novels teaching lessons and ideas through fiction—The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and ProsperityThe Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance,and The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism, which was named one of the top ten books of 1994 by Business Week and one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times

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 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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Analysis and Commentary

Roosevelt Montás On Rescuing Socrates

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 20, 2022

How do books change our lives? Educator and author Roosevelt Montás of Columbia University talks about his book Rescuing Socrates with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Analysis and Commentary

Sridhar Ramaswamy On Google, Search, And Neeva

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 13, 2022

Former Google ads boss Sridhar Ramaswamy says that we live in a world that seems to give out free content when we use a search engine. But that world comes with a hidden cost--search results that distort what we find and serve advertisers rather than searchers.

Analysis and Commentary

Matti Friedman On Leonard Cohen And The Yom Kippur War

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 6, 2022

In October 1973, an unhappy Leonard Cohen was listening to the radio on his Greek island home when he heard that Israel was at war. He headed to Tel Aviv, exchanging a personal and creative crisis for a national one. Absent a plan and even a guitar, Cohen wound up serenading Israeli soldiers at the front. Journalist Matti Friedman talks about his book Who by Fire with EconTalk host Russ Roberts and explains how a songwriter and a nation were transformed in the crucible of war.

Analysis and Commentary

Ian Leslie On Curiosity

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 30, 2022

Listen as Ian Leslie, author of Curious, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts why curiosity is a critical virtue, why it's now in dangerous decline, and why, when it comes to what sustains long-term fascination, mysteries beat puzzles every time.

Analysis and Commentary

Diane Coyle On Cogs, Monsters, And Better Economics

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 23, 2022

Mainstream economics, says author Diane Coyle, keeps treating people like cogs: self-interested, rational agents. But in the digital economy, we're less sophisticated consumer and more monster under the influence of social media.

Analysis and Commentary

Marc Andreessen On Software, Immortality, And Bitcoin

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 16, 2022

Marc Andreessen explains why software is still eating the world, why he's an optimist, and why he's still bullish on Bitcoin and the blockchain.

Analysis and Commentary

Chris Blattman On Why We Fight

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 9, 2022

It's tempting to explain Russia's invasion of Ukraine with Putin's megalomania. Economist Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks about his book Why We Fight with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Blattman explains why only a fraction of rivalries ever erupt into violence, the five main reasons adversaries can't arrive at compromise, and the problem with trying to get into Putin's head (and why it's not all about Putin. Really).

Analysis and Commentary

Dwayne Betts On Ellison, Levi, And Human Suffering

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 2, 2022

In his memoir of his time in Auschwitz, Primo Levi describes Jewish prisoners bathing in freezing water without soap--not because they thought it would make them cleaner, but because it helped them hold on to their dignity. For poet and author Dwayne Betts, Levi's description of his fellow inmates' suffering, much like the novelist Ralph Ellison's portrayal of early twentieth-century black life in America, is much more than bearing witness to the darkest impulses of mankind.

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Munger On Antitrust

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 25, 2022

Are tech giants such as Google, Amazon, or Facebook dangerous? Do they have too much power? Dive into the murky waters of antitrust as Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about monopoly, antitrust policy, and competition in the 21st century.

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler Cowen On Reading

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 18, 2022

Intellectual omnivore Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts talk about their reading habits, their favorite books, and the pile of books on their nightstands right now.

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