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

In the News

Caplan on Discrimination

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

In the latest episode of EconTalk, Bryan Caplan and I talk about whether markets can reduce or eliminate discrimination...

In the News

The Power of Specialization

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Two people marooned on a tropical island trying to collect fresh water and catch fish each day, can almost always do better by specializing—have one person do the fishing and the other do the water collecting...

In the News

Post-Election Wisdom

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wisdom from Arnold Kling in TCS:

In the News

Gains from Trade

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Thursday, November 16, 2006

This essay over at the Library of Economics and Liberty is part one of a two part series I'm writing on comparative advantage...

In the News

Why They Do What They Do

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Thursday, November 9, 2006

Why is Rumsfield gone?

In the News

Safety on the Cape

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

I wrote recently in the Boston Globe about the removal of the traffic rotary in front of the Sagamore Bridge leading to Cape Cod and argued that the hoped-for reductions in traffic were likely to be minimal...

Analysis and Commentary

The rotary's gone, but the Cape's problems aren't

by Russ Robertsvia Boston Globe
Monday, November 6, 2006

The Sagamore rotary is gone, and the rejoicing is near universal.

In the News

Government Paternalism in Action

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Friday, November 3, 2006

I was talking to some people last night about different approaches to government...

A Debt of Gratitude

by Russ Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

Russell Roberts

In the News

Are Professional Sports Competitive?

by Russ Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Friday, October 27, 2006

Michael Lewis's Moneyball tells the story of how the Oakland A's became successful…