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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

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.

Blank Section (Placeholder)

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.

Featured

Do The Rich Capture All The Gains From Economic Growth?

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Adjusted for inflation, the US economy has more than doubled in real terms since 1975.

Analysis and Commentary

Ran Abramitzky On The Mystery Of The Kibbutz

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 22, 2018

Economist and author Ran Abramitzky of Stanford University talks about his book, The Mystery of the Kibbutz, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Abramitzky traces the evolution of the kibbutz movement in Israel and how the kibbutz structure changed to cope with the modernization and development of the Israeli economy. The conversation includes a discussion of how the history of the kibbutz might help us to understand the appeal and challenges of the socialism and freedom.

Featured

The Outrage Epidemic-II

by Russell Robertsvia Medium
Monday, October 22, 2018

Suppose you’re running for office and you have one opponent — an extremist on the right. How should you position yourself if all you care about is winning? The standard answer in political science is to get close to the center or even a little bit to the right of center. Everyone on the left prefers you to the extremist. Even some of the people on the right prefer you to the extremist. So the centrist wins easily.

Analysis and Commentary

Kevin Mckenna On Characters, Plot, And Themes Of In The First Circle

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Russian Literature Professor Kevin McKenna of the University of Vermont talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the characters, plot, and themes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece, In the First Circle. This is the second episode of the EconTalk book club discussing the book. The first episode--a discussion of Solzhenitsyn's life and times--is available on EconTalk at Kevin McKenna on Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet Union, and In the First Circle.

Analysis and Commentary

John Gray On The Seven Kinds Of Atheism

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 15, 2018

Philosopher and author John Gray talks about his latest book, Seven Types of Atheism, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gray argues that progress is an illusion and that most atheisms inherit, unknowingly, a religious belief in progress that is not justified. While Gray concedes that technological know-how and scientific knowledge improve over time, he argues that morality and political systems are cyclical and that there is no reason to be optimistic about the future.

Analysis and Commentary

Neil Monnery On Hong Kong And The Architect Of Prosperity

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, October 8, 2018

Neil Monnery, author of Architect of Prosperity, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--a biography of John Cowperthwaite, the man often credited with the economic success of Hong Kong. Monnery describes the policies that Cowperthwaite championed and the role they played in the evolution of Hong Kong's economy. How much those policies mattered is the focus of the conversation. Other topics include the relationship between Hong Kong and China and the irony of the challenges Hong Kong faced from U.S. and British protectionism.

Pages