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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Analysis and Commentary

Robert Lerman On Apprenticeships

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 6, 2020

Economist Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute talks about apprenticeships with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lerman argues that apprenticeships--a combination of work experience and classroom learning--have the potential to expand opportunities for young people who don't want to attend college.

Analysis and Commentary

Vivian Lee On The Long Fix

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 29, 2020

Physician and author Vivian Lee talks about her book The Long Fix with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lee argues that we can transform health care in the United States, though it may take a while. She argues that the current fee-for-service system incentivizes doctors to provide services rather than keep patients healthy and that these are not the same thing. 

Analysis and Commentary

Agnes Callard On Philosophy, Progress, And Wisdom

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 22, 2020

Philosopher and author Agnes Callard talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of philosophy, the power of philosophy, and the search for wisdom and truth. This is a wide-ranging conversation related to the question of how we learn, how to behave ethically, and the role of religion and philosophy in encouraging good behavior.

Analysis and Commentary

Diane Ravitch On Slaying Goliath

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 15, 2020

Author and historian Diane Ravitch of New York University talks about her book, Slaying Goliath, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Ravitch argues that the charter school movement is a failure and that it drains needed money from public schools.

Analysis and Commentary

Rebecca Henderson On Reimagining Capitalism

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 8, 2020

Author and economist Rebecca Henderson of the Harvard Business School talks about her book Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Henderson argues that the focus on shareholder value threatens to destroy capitalism from within. Henderson argues that business leaders need to manage their companies differently in order to create a more humane and stable capitalism.

Analysis and Commentary

Sarah Carr On Charter Schools, Educational Reform, And Hope Against Hope

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 1, 2020

Journalist and author Sarah Carr talks about her book Hope Against Hope with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Carr looked at three schools in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and chronicled their successes, failures, and the challenges facing educational reform in the poorest parts of America.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Infrastructure

by Russell Roberts, Lee Ohanian, Michael J. Boskin, Richard A. Epstein, John B. Taylor, John F. Cogan, Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 28, 2020

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the economy, some in Congress are proposing a large increase in infrastructure spending. Supporters claim that increased spending will boost the economy while ensuring future generations will benefit from improved transportation, power, and communication systems. But will increased federal spending on infrastructure deliver on these promises, or are there reasons to be skeptical?

Analysis and Commentary

Martin Gurri On The Revolt Of The Public

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 25, 2020

Author Martin Gurri, Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, talks about his book The Revolt of the Public with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gurri argues that a digital tsunami--the increase in information that the web provides--has destabilized authority and many institutions. He talks about the amorphous nature of recent populist protest movements around the world and where we might be headed politically and culturally.

 

Analysis and Commentary

Robert Pondiscio On How The Other Half Learns

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, May 18, 2020

Author and teacher Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute talks about his book How the Other Half Learns with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Pondiscio shares his experience of being embedded in a Success Academy Charter School in New York City for a year--lessons about teaching, education policy, and student achievement.

 
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Paul Romer On The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Russell 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.

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