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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Recent Commentary

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Michael Munger On The Future Of Higher Education

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 17, 2020

In this 750th (!) episode, Duke University's Michael Munger talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the pandemic might create an opportunity for colleges and universities to experiment and innovate. Munger is Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy at Duke. He believes "top" schools can emerge from the current period of uncertainty to thrive in the long run. The path for "second-tier" institutions could be more difficult. 

Analysis and Commentary

Ben Cohen On The Hot Hand

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 10, 2020

Journalist and author Ben Cohen talks about his book, The Hot Hand, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. At times in sports and elsewhere in life, a person seems to be "on fire," playing at an unusually high level. Is this real or an illusion? Cohen takes the listener through the scientific literature on this question and spreads a very wide net to look at the phenomenon of being in the zone outside of sports. Topics include Shakespeare, investing, Stephen Curry, and asylum judges.

Analysis and Commentary

John Kay And Mervyn King On Radical Uncertainty

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 3, 2020

John Kay and Mervyn King talk about their book, Radical Uncertainty, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging discussion based on the book looking at rationality, decision-making under uncertainty, and the economists' view of the world.

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb On The Pandemic

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 27, 2020

Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics discussed include how to handle the rest of this pandemic and the next one, the power of the mask, geronticide, and soul in the game.

CommentaryFeatured

The Humane Side Of Capitalism

by Russ Robertsvia Socialism and Free Market Capitalism: The Human Prosperity Project
Thursday, July 23, 2020

A lot of people reject capitalism because they see the market process at the heart of capitalism—the decentralized, bottom-up interactions between buyers and sellers that determine prices and quantities—as fundamentally immoral. After all, say the critics, capitalism unleashes the worst of our possible motivations, and it gets things done by appealing to greed and self-interest rather than to something nobler: caring for others, say. Or love.

Interviews

The Intersection Of Faith And Economics With Russ Roberts

interview with Russ Robertsvia Action Line
Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts talks about the intersection of faith and economics, and how Roberts’ own Jewish faith has influenced his life and work.

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The American Labor Market

by Edward Paul Lazear, Lee Ohanian, Russ Roberts, David R. Henderson, Margaret (Macke) Raymondvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the US economy, it is easy to be pessimistic about the future job market. The unemployment rate is in double digits and millions of households are now relying on federal unemployment benefits to survive. Nevertheless, the United States is particularly well-equipped to overcome these changes. Its economy is exceptional, and this is especially true when it comes to the US workforce.

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The American Labor Market

featuring Edward Paul Lazear, Lee Ohanian, Russ Roberts, David R. Henderson, Margaret (Macke) Raymond, Daniel Heil, Tom Churchvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Monday, July 20, 2020

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the US economy, it is easy to be pessimistic about the future job market. The unemployment rate is in double digits and millions of households are now relying on federal unemployment benefits to survive. Nevertheless, the United States is particularly well-equipped to overcome these changes. Its economy is exceptional, and this is especially true when it comes to the US workforce.

Analysis and Commentary

Glenn Loury On Race, Inequality, And America

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 20, 2020

Economist and author Glenn Loury of Brown University talks about race in America with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Analysis and Commentary

Josh Williams On Online Gaming, Blockchain, And Forte

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 13, 2020

Josh Williams, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain gaming company Forte, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of online gaming and the potential of a blockchain-based gaming platform to create market economies with property rights within online games.

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