Russ Roberts

John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow

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 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” ( is an ode to emergent order. His series on the challenge of using data to establish truth, The Numbers Game, can be found at 

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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Recent Commentary


Pandemic Pricing: Why Prices Need To Rise During Emergencies

by Russ Robertsvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Laws that stop prices from rising in emergencies lead to shortages that leave everyone worse off.

Analysis and Commentary

Zena Hitz On Lost In Thought

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 5, 2020

Philosopher and author Zena Hitz of St. John's College talks about her book, Lost in Thought, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hitz defends learning for its own sake--learning that has nothing to do with passing an exam or preparing for a career. For Hitz, learning is a refuge and an essential part of what makes us human.


Do I Deserve What I Have? Part III

by Russ Robertsvia Medium
Thursday, October 1, 2020

In part I of this series, I argued that I do not deserve my standard of living. Though I’ve worked hard and had a few good ideas in my career, it can be argued that much if not all of my material success comes from things I had no part in — who my parents were, the rise of the internet, the importance of economists these days and so on.

Analysis and Commentary

Agnes Callard On Aspiration

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 28, 2020

Where do our deepest personal values come from? Can we choose those values? Philosopher and author Agnes Callard of the University of Chicago talks about her book, Aspiration, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Callard explores the challenge of aspiration--who we are versus who we would like to become. How does aspiration work? How can we transform ourselves when we cannot know how it will feel to be transformed? Callard discusses these questions and more in this provocative episode.

Analysis and Commentary

Lisa Cook On Racism, Patents, And Black Entrepreneurship

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 21, 2020

How much has racism held back the U.S. economy? What would the country look like today if Black entrepreneurs and inventors had been welcomed and encouraged over the past century and a half? Economist Lisa Cook of Michigan State University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research into the impact of racism, lynching, and segregation on Black inventors and entrepreneurs.


Robert Chitester On Milton Friedman And Free To Choose

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 14, 2020

Once upon a time, a man had an idea for a documentary on free-market ideas. Then that man was introduced to Milton Friedman. The result of their collaboration was a wildly successful book and PBS series, Free to Choose, capturing Friedman's view of the world, how markets work, and the role of individual liberty in free-market economies. The man behind that documentary, Robert Chitester, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how that documentary came about and Chitester's long-time friendship and work with Milton and Rose Friedman.

Analysis and Commentary

Margaret Heffernan On Uncharted

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 7, 2020

How do we prepare for a future that is unpredictable? That's the question at the heart of Margaret Heffernan's new book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. Heffernan is a professor at the University of Bath, but she is also a serial entrepreneur, a former CEO, and the author of five books on leadership, innovation, and the challenge of unleashing talent and creativity in large organizations. 

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The Case For Economic Freedom

interview with George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor, Russ Robertsvia Fellow Talks
Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Case For Economic Freedom.

Analysis and Commentary

Matt Ridley On How Innovation Works

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 31, 2020

What's the difference between invention and innovation? Could it be that innovation--the process of making a breakthrough invention available, affordable, and reliable--is actually the hard part? In this week's EconTalk episode, author Matt Ridley talks about his book How Innovation Works with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. 


Russ Roberts On The Curious Task Of Epistemology

interview with Russ Robertsvia The Filter Podcast
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts talks about his view on marketplaces, religion, and the importance of doubt. Roberts also discusses behavioral economics, rationality, rough heuristics, and black box problems.