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

Do I Deserve What I Have? Part I

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

How am I lucky to have the career I have and the economic security I have? Let me list the ways. I was born of two parents who loved me but who did not spoil me and who gave me an above average set of inherited skills. They created a love of reading in me as well as some measure of kindness and honesty. I did not choose my parents. I am so lucky.

Analysis and Commentary

Maeve Cohen On Rethinking Economics

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, December 3, 2018

Maeve Cohen, Co-director of Rethinking Economics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her organization and its efforts to change economics education. Cohen, who co-founded the Post-Crash Economics Society, argues for a more human-centered approach to economics that would be less confident in its policy prescriptions and more honest about the significance of its underlying assumptions.

Analysis and Commentary

Anat Admati On The Financial Crisis Of 2008

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 26, 2018

Anat Admati of Stanford's Graduate School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis of 2008, the lessons she has learned, and how it has changed her view of economics, finance, and her career.

Analysis and Commentary

A.J. Jacobs On Thanks A Thousand

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 19, 2018

Journalist and author A. J. Jacobs talks about his book, Thanks a Thousand, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Jacobs thanked a thousand different people who contributed to his morning cup of coffee. In this conversation, Jacobs talks about the power of gratitude and different ways we can express gratitude in everyday life. He and Roberts also explore the unintended web of cooperation that underlies almost every product we encounter in a modern economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Julia Belluz On Epidemiology, Nutrition, And Metabolism

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 12, 2018

Science writer Julia Belluz of Vox.com talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of epidemiology, nutrition, and the relationship between obesity and metabolism.

Analysis and Commentary

My Trip To Pittsburgh

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Monday, November 5, 2018

On Monday night of this week, I received an email from my synagogue saying that a bus would be leaving for Pittsburgh at 7 am the next morning to allow people to attend the funeral of David and Cecil Rosenthal, two gentle souls with fragile x syndrome who had been murdered in the tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue by a coward whose name does not bear mentioning.

Analysis and Commentary

Alan Lightman On Science, Spirituality, And Searching For Stars On An Island In Maine

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, November 5, 2018

Author and Physicist Alan Lightman talks about his book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging conversation on religion, science, transcendence, consciousness, impermanence, and whether matter is all that matters.

Analysis and Commentary

The Lonely Man With A Gun

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Monday, October 29, 2018

Another lonely man with a gun has murdered innocents. Whether you call it mass murder or terrorism or a hate crime, it doesn’t matter. And as a Jew, I am deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism. But there is something that cuts across these all to frequent acts of violence. It’s almost always a lonely man with a gun. Understandably, there’s a lot of focus on the gun part. But I want to think about the lonely man.

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The Jung and the Restless

by Russell Robertsvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018

Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson spurns the pursuit of happiness, encourages the pursuit of Jungian archetypes, and lays claim to the modern soul.

Analysis and Commentary

Michael Munger On Sharing, Transaction Costs, And Tomorrow 3.0

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 29, 2018

Economist and author Michael Munger of Duke University talks about his book, Tomorrow 3.0, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Munger analyzes the rise of companies like Uber and AirBnB as an example of how technology lowers transactions costs. Users and providers can find each other more easily through their smartphones, increasing opportunity. Munger expects these costs to fall elsewhere and predicts an expansion of the sharing economy to a wide array of items in our daily lives.

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