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

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Paul Romer On The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In this special episode of EconTalk, Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts discusses, with economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Romer, the coronavirus pandemic. Romer argues that the status quo of shutdown and fear of infection are unsustainable.

Analysis and Commentary

Branko Milanovic On Capitalism, Alone

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 11, 2020

Economist and author Branko Milanovic of the Graduate Center, CUNY, talks about his book, Capitalism, Alone, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. They discuss inequality, the challenge of corruption in the Chinese system, and Milanovic's claim that in American capitalism, the texture of daily life is increasingly affected by the sharing economy and other opportunities.

Analysis and Commentary

L.A. Paul On Vampires, Life Choices, And Transformation

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 4, 2020

Philosopher and author L.A. Paul talks about her book Transformative Experience with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Paul explores the uncertainties that surround the transformative experiences that we choose and that happen to us without choosing. How should we think about the morality and personal impact of these kinds of experiences, especially when some decisions are very hard or impossible to reverse? 


Price Gouging Could Actually Fix Our Face Mask Shortage

by Russ Robertsvia Marker (Medium)
Sunday, May 3, 2020

If we don’t let prices for essential goods rise, we can’t incentivize making more of them.

Analysis and Commentary

Alan Lightman On Stardust, Meaning, Religion, And Science

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 27, 2020

Physicist and author Alan Lightman talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the universe, meaning, transcendence, and the relationship between science and religion.

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“Of the Elites, by the Elites”

by Russ Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2020

George Will does battle with the administrative state in his new book, The Conservative Sensibility.

Analysis and Commentary

Vinay Prasad On Cancer Drugs, Medical Ethics, And Malignant

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 20, 2020

Oncologist, author, and podcaster Vinay Prasad talks about his book Malignant with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Prasad lays out the conflicts of interest and scientific challenges that make drugs that fight cancer so disappointing at times. The conversation looks at how policy changes might improve the incentives facing doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and patients.

In the News

Government Is Everywhere Now - Where Does It Go Next?

quoting Russ Robertsvia The Hour
Sunday, April 19, 2020

Americans are experiencing the biggest expansion of government authority in generations as elected leaders take unprecedented action to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis and Commentary

Ed Leamer On Manufacturing, Effort, And Inequality

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 13, 2020

Economist Ed Leamer of UCLA talks about manufacturing, effort, and inequality with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation draws on recent empirical work of Leamer's on how measured inequality is affected by the work effort of Americans at different levels of education. The conversation ends with a discussion of how education can be transformed when it is more personal and allows the student to explore and discover under the guidance of a teacher.

Analysis and Commentary

Arnold Kling On The Three Languages Of Politics, Revisited

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 6, 2020

Economist and author Arnold Kling talks about the revised edition of his book The Three Languages of Politics in front of a live audience at the Cato Institute, recorded in September of 2019. Kling talks about the changed political landscape in the United States and around the world and how his ideas have changed since the book was first published in 2013.