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

Noreena Hertz On The Lonely Century

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 27, 2021

Author and economist Noreena Hertz of University College London talks about her book, The Lonely Century, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hertz blames social media and the individualist, pro-capitalism worldviews of leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan for the rise in loneliness in the developed world. Russ suggests some alternative causes. The result is a lively conversation about understanding and explaining social trends.

Featured

David Henderson On The Essential UCLA School Of Economics

interview with David R. Henderson, Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 20, 2021

Economist and author David Henderson talks about his book (co-authored with Steve Globerman) The Essential UCLA School of Economics with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Much of the conversation focuses on the work of Armen Alchian and Harold Demsetz, who both saw economics as a powerful tool for understanding human behavior and how the world works.

Analysis and Commentary

Glen Weyl On Antitrust, Capitalism, And Radical Reform

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 13, 2021

Author and Microsoft executive Glen Weyl talks about radical reforms of capitalism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Weyl is worried about the concentration of corporate power, especially in the tech sector. But rather than use the traditional tools of antitrust, he has a more radical strategy for reorganizing corporate governance entirely.

Analysis and Commentary

Johann Hari On Lost Connections

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 6, 2021

Author and journalist Johann Hari talks about his book, Lost Connections: Why You Are Depressed and How to Find Hope, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hari, who has suffered with depression as a teenager and an adult, offers a sweeping critique of the medical establishment's understanding of depression and the frequent reliance on pharmaceutical treatments. Hari argues that it is our lost connections with each other, with our work, and with ourselves that explains the rise in depression in recent times.

Analysis and Commentary

Bret Devereaux On Ancient Greece And Rome

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 30, 2021

Historian Bret Devereaux of the University of North Carolina talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about our understanding of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Devereaux highlights the gap between the reality of Greece and Rome and how they're portrayed in popular culture. The conversation focuses on the diversity of ancient Rome and the military prowess of Sparta.

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Heller And James Salzman On Mine!

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 23, 2021

Law professors Michael Heller and James Salzman talk about their book, Mine! with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Heller and Salzman argue that ownership is trickier and more complicated than it looks. While we tend to think of something as either mine or not mine, there's often ambiguity and a continuum about who owns what. 

Analysis and Commentary

Nicholas Wapshott On Samuelson And Friedman

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 16, 2021

Journalist and author Nicholas Wapshott talks about his book Samuelson Friedman with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson were two of the most influential economists of the last century. They competed for professional acclaim and had very different policy visions. The conversation includes their differences over the work of Keynes, their rivalry in their columns at Newsweek, and a discussion of their intellectual and policy legacies.

Featured

Michael Munger On Free Markets

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 9, 2021

Author and economist Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues--and the flaws--of free markets. Munger says the best argument for a free market approach is not that it's perfect but that it's better than anything else we've been able to come up with over the centuries. 

Analysis and Commentary

Jonathan Rauch On The Constitution Of Knowledge

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 2, 2021

Journalist and author Jonathan Rauch talks about his book The Constitution of Knowledge with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. People come up with ideas all the time. But the vast majority of these ideas aren't worthwhile. Rauch argues that the constitution of knowledge--the norms and institutions for testing the reliability of new ideas and accumulating knowledge--has been dramatically altered by the internet and social media. 

Analysis and Commentary

James Heckman On Inequality And Economic Mobility

interview with Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 26, 2021

Economist and Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago talks about inequality and economic mobility with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Drawing on research on inequality in Denmark with Rasmus Landersø, Heckman argues that despite the efforts of the Danish welfare state to provide equal access to education, there is little difference in economic mobility between the United States and Denmark. 

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