Russell 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

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler Cowen On Big Business

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 19, 2019

Author and economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks about his book, Big Business, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Cowen argues that big corporations in America are underrated and under-appreciated. He even defends the financial sector while adding some caveats along the way. This is a lively and contrarian look at a timely issue.

Analysis and Commentary

Arthur Diamond On Openness To Creative Destruction

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 12, 2019

Arthur Diamond of the University of Nebraska at Omaha talks about his book, Openness to Creative Destruction, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Diamond sings the sometimes forgotten virtues of innovation and entrepreneurship and argues that they should be taught more prominently as a central part of economics.

Interviews

EconTalk Host Russ Roberts On Key Economic Concepts For Founders

interview with Russell Robertsvia Y Combinator
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts discusses key concepts and ideas for startups.

Featured

Modern Lessons From Adam Smith

interview with Russell Robertsvia Daily Economy
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts discusses Adam Smith, common economic misunderstandings, and the value of individual honor in western culture.

Analysis and Commentary

Andy Matuschak On Books And Learning

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 5, 2019

Software Engineer Andy Matuschak talks about his essay "Why Books Don't Work" with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And yet after reading a non-fiction book, most readers will struggle to remember any of the ideas in the book. Matuschak argues for a different approach to transmitting ideas via the web including different ways that authors or teachers can test for understanding that will increase the chances of retention and mastery of complex ideas.

Analysis and Commentary

Shoshana Zuboff On Surveillance Capitalism

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 29, 2019

Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard University talks about her book Surveillance Capitalism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Zuboff argues that the monetization of search engines and social networks by Google, Facebook, and other large tech firms threatens privacy and democracy.

Interviews

Russ Roberts Ask Me Anything

interview with Russell Robertsvia Adam Smith Works
Monday, July 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Russ Roberts answers your questions on a number of matters including economic, philosophic, and literary.

Analysis and Commentary

Chris Arnade On Dignity

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 22, 2019

Photographer, author, and former Wall St. trader Chris Arnade talks about his book, Dignity, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Arnade quit his Wall Street trading job and criss-crossed America photographing and getting to know the addicted and homeless who struggle to find work and struggle to survive. The conversation centers on what Arnade learned about Americans and about himself.

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“Technology Always Becomes Something Else”

by Russell Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The age of artificial intelligence has already begun, says futurist Amy Webb, and a cascade of small changes will swell until “life is nothing like it was before.” The good news: people might finally decide what they want from tech, and what they will refuse to tolerate

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Brendan Dougherty On My Father Left Me Ireland

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 15, 2019

Author and journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty talks about his book My Father Left Me Ireland with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Dougherty talks about the role of cultural and national roots in our lives and the challenges of cultural freedom in America. What makes us feel part of something? Do you feel American or just someone who happens to live within its borders? When are people willing to die for their country or a cause? These are some of the questions Dougherty grapples with in his book and in this conversation.

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