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, Thomas Piketty, Christopher Hitchens, Bill James, Nassim Taleb, Michael Lewis, and Marc Andreessen. All 600+ episodes remain available free of charge at EconTalk.org.

His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than 10 million YouTube views, 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 his ode to emergent order. His series on the challenge of using data to establish truth, The Numbers Game, can be found at PolicyEd.org.

He is the author of three novels teaching lessons and ideas through fiction. The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity tells the story of wealth creation and the unseen forces around us creating and sustaining economic opportunity. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance looks at corporate responsibility and a wide array of policy issues including anti-poverty programs, consumer protection, and the morality of the marketplace. His first book, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism, was named one of the top ten books of 1994 by Business Week and one of the best books by the Financial Times.

His latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. It takes the lessons from Adam Smith's little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and applies them to modern life.

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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Housing
Analysis and Commentary

Glen Weyl On Radical Markets

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 21, 2018

Economist Glen Weyl of Microsoft Research New England and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book (co-authored with Eric Posner) Radical Markets. Weyl urges a radical transformation of land and housing markets using a new federal real estate tax based on self-assessment. Owners would be required to sell their houses at the self-assessed price. 

Analysis and Commentary

Peter Boettke On Public Administration, Liberty, And The Proper Role Of Government

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 14, 2018

Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the proper role of the state in the economy. This is a wide-ranging conversation on political economy. Topics include Adam Smith's view of the state, the tension between the state as enabler of real vs. crony capitalism, the potential for the poor to flourish in a market economy, and the challenges of democracy.

Featured

Joel Peterson On Leadership, Betrayal, And The 10 Laws Of Trust

by Russell Roberts interview with Joel C. Petersonvia EconTalk
Monday, May 7, 2018

How did the CEO of a real estate development company become chairman of an airline? How can a competent manager learn to trust his subordinates? 

Analysis and Commentary

Ryan Holiday On Conspiracy, Gawker, And The Hulk Hogan Trial

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 30, 2018

Author Ryan Holiday discusses his book, Conspiracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a crazy episode about a crazy book about a crazy set of events--the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against the website Gawker, a lawsuit that was secretly funded by Peter Thiel. Holiday explains how this happened and the lessons for all of us related to conspiracies, patience, strategy, and revenge.

Analysis and Commentary

Jonah Goldberg On The Suicide Of The West

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 23, 2018

Jonah Goldberg of National Review talks about his latest book, Suicide of the West, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Goldberg argues that both capitalism and democracy are at risk in the current contentious political environment. He argues that we take for granted what he calls "the miracle"--the transformation of the standard of living in the democracies with market economies.

Analysis and Commentary

Jerry Muller On The Tyranny Of Metrics

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 16, 2018

Historian and author Jerry Muller of Catholic University talks about his latest book, The Tyranny of Metrics, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Muller argues that public policy and management are overly focused on measurable outcomes as a measure of success. This leads to organizations and agencies over-focusing on metrics rather than their broader mission. The conversation includes applications to education, crime, and health care.

Analysis and Commentary

Vincent Rajkumar On The High Price Of Cancer Drugs

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 9, 2018

Can a life-saving drug be too expensive? What explains the high price of cancer drugs? Dr. Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Clinic talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the high price of cancer drugs--drugs that can cost an American with cancer $300,000 per year and require multiple years of treatment.

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Munger On Traffic

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, April 2, 2018

Does rush-hour traffic drive you crazy? Is a congestion tax on car travel a good idea? Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of traffic and congestion taxes. 

Analysis and Commentary

What I’ve Learned From Jordan Peterson

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

After I interviewed Jordan Peterson on EconTalk, I received a number of unusually thoughtful and civil emails from listeners asking why I hadn’t asked him about ______. These listeners had a couple of different things to put in the blank but they were all quotes from one or another of Peterson’s innumerable online videos or interviews. The listeners wanted to know why I didn’t challenge Peterson the way I do other guests.

Analysis and Commentary

Edward Glaeser On Joblessness And The War On Work

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, March 26, 2018

Why are fewer men working over the last few decades? Is a universal basic income a good policy for coping with the loss of employment? Economist Edward Glaeser of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what Glaeser calls the war on work--the policy changes that have reduced employment among prime-aged men.

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