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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Analysis and Commentary

Catherine Semcer On Poaching, Preserves, And African Wildlife

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 18, 2019

Catherine Semcer of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of incentives in preserving wildlife in Africa. The conversation discusses how allowing limited hunting of big game such as elephants and using revenue from hunting licenses to reward local communities for habitat stewardship has improved both habitat and wildlife populations while reducing poaching.

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Gambling with Other People's Money

by Russell Robertsvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Monday, February 11, 2019

What caused the Financial Crisis of 2008? Most explanations blame either government regulation or government deregulation. Either government forced private-sector banks and financial institutions to extend credit to risky borrowers, or the removal of government oversight allowed greed to run amok.

Analysis and Commentary

Jessica Riskin On Life, Machinery, And The Restless Clock

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 11, 2019

Historian Jessica Riskin of Stanford University talks about her book The Restless Clock with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. What is the difference between human beings and machines? How has science thought about this distinction? When do we have agency and when are we constrained? Riskin discusses these issues and the implications for how we think about ourselves and the growth of artificial intelligence.

Pills
Analysis and Commentary

Gary Greenberg On The Placebo Effect

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, February 4, 2019

Author and psychotherapist Gary Greenberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the placebo effect. Is it real? How does the placebo effect influence drug testing? If it's real, what is the underlying mechanism of why it works and how might it be harnessed to improve health care? 

Analysis and Commentary

Patrick Collison On Innovation And Scientific Progress

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 28, 2019

This week, Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Stripe, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the pace of innovation. Collison argues that despite enormous increases in the numbers of scientists and researchers, the pace of progress in scientific and technological understanding does not seem to be increasing accordingly. The conversation looks at the challenge of measuring innovation and whether the pace of innovation should be a matter of concern and if so, what might be done about it.

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Mao’s Road to Serfdom

by Russell Roberts interview with Frank Diköttervia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

Mao Zedong’s ambition to outshine Stalin led to waves of starvation, a grotesque and unworkable economy, and war against his own people. Hoover fellow Frank Dikötter on the Great Leap Forward, which was neither great nor forward.

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Free Trade

featuring Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor, John H. Cochrane , Edward Paul Lazear, Michael J. Boskin, Richard A. Epstein, Russell Roberts, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

After a generation of trade liberalizations, many Americans—on the left and the right—are having second thoughts.

Analysis and Commentary

Jennifer Doleac On Crime

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 21, 2019

This week, economist Jennifer Doleac of Texas A&M University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research on crime, police, and the unexpected consequences of the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include legislation banning asking job applicants if they've been in prison, body cameras for police, the use of DNA databases, the use of Naloxone to prevent death from opioid overdose, and the challenges of being an economist who thinks about crime using the economist's toolkit.

Featured

Stephen Kotkin On Solzhenitsyn

by Russell Roberts featuring Stephen Kotkinvia EconTalk
Monday, January 14, 2019

This week, historian and author Stephen Kotkin of Princeton University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical significance of the life and work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn's birth.

Analysis and Commentary

Ed Dolan On Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, January 7, 2019

This week, economist Ed Dolan of the Niskanen Center talks about employer-based health insurance with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Dolan discusses how unusual it is relative to other countries that so many Americans get their health insurance through their employer and the implications of that phenomenon for the structure of the health insurance market.

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