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

InterviewsBlank Section (Placeholder)

Russ Roberts On Coronavirus: A Cost-Benefit Analysis Of The Economic Shutdown (15:02)

interview with Russ Robertsvia Capital Isn't
Friday, March 27, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts talks about the cost-benefit analysis of whether it would be better to keep the economy closed or opened during the coronavirus.

In the News

Coronavirus Pandemic Inspires Private Generosity

featuring Russ Robertsvia Patriot Post
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Americans all across the country are stepping up to help their neighbors in need.


Russ Roberts: Health Care, Free Markets, And Viruses

interview with Russ Robertsvia The Accad & Koka Report
Monday, March 23, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts discusses how health care and free markets work in the age of deadly viruses.

Analysis and Commentary

Azra Raza On The First Cell

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 23, 2020

Author and oncologist Azra Raza talks about her book The First Cell with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Raza argues that we have made little progress in fighting cancer over the last 50 years. The tools available to oncologists haven't changed much--the bulk of the progress that has been made has been through earlier and earlier detection rather than more effective or compassionate treatment options. 


Russ Roberts: A Free-Market Economist’s Thoughts On Coronavirus

interview with Russ Robertsvia National Review
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts discusses the economic consequences of the coronavirus.

Analysis and CommentaryBlank Section (Placeholder)

Tyler Cowen On The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts joins forces with Tyler Cowen to discuss how both are adjusting to social isolation, private versus public responses to the pandemic, the challenge of reforming scrambled organization capital, the implications for Trump’s reelection, appropriate fiscal and monetary responses, bailouts, innovation prizes, and more.


Russ Roberts: The Human Experience And Technology

interview with Russ Robertsvia Frontier Podcast by
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts gives his insights into making space for the human experience in technology, and more.

Analysis and Commentary

Isabella Tree On Wilding

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 16, 2020

Author and conservationist Isabella Tree talks about her book Wilding with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Tree and her husband decided to turn their three and a half acre farm, the Knepp Castle Estate, into something wilder, a place for wild ponies, wild pigs, wild oxen, and an ever-wider variety of birds and bugs. The conversation covers the re-wilding phenomenon, the complexity of natural systems, and the nature of emergent order.

Analysis and Commentary

Eulogy For My Father

by Russ Robertsvia Medium
Thursday, March 12, 2020

This is an expanded version of what I said at my father’s funeral. He passed away on March 2, 2020 at the age of 89. May his memory be a blessing.

Analysis and Commentary

Richard Davies On Extreme Economies

by Russ Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 9, 2020

Economist and author Richard Davies talks about his book Extreme Economies with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation explores economic life in extreme situations. Examples discussed are the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana, two Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, the rain forest in the Darien Gap in Panama, and Kinshasa, the largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo.