Russell Roberts

John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow

Russell Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Roberts hosts the weekly podcast EconTalk--hour-long conversations with authors, economists, and business leaders. Past guests include Milton Friedman, Nassim Taleb, Christopher Hitchens, Marc Andreessen, Joseph Stiglitz, and John Bogle. EconTalk was named podcast of the year in the 2008 Weblog Awards. Over 425 episodes are available at and on iTunes at no charge.

His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than seven million views on YouTube, been subtitled in eleven languages, and are used in high school and college classrooms around the world. 

His latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (Portfolio/Penguin 2014). It takes the lessons from Adam Smith's little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and applies them to modern life.  

He is also the author of three economic novels teaching economic lessons and ideas through fiction. The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (Princeton University Press, 2008) tells the story of wealth creation and the unseen forces around us creating and sustaining economic opportunity. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (MIT Press, 2002) 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 (Prentice Hall, 3rd edition, 2006) is on international trade policy and the human consequences of international trade. It was named one of the top ten books of 1994 by Business Week and one of the best books of 1994 by the Financial Times.

A three-time teacher of the year, 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 was a national fellow and visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution from 1985 to 1987. 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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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

William MacAskill On Effective Altruism And Doing Good Better

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, September 7, 2015

How much care do you take when you make a donation to a charity? What careers make the biggest difference when it comes to helping others?

Analysis and Commentary

Paul Robinson On Cooperation, Punishment And The Criminal Justice System

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 31, 2015

Are human beings naturally cooperative or selfish? Can people thrive without government law? Paul Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Pirates, Prisoners and Lepers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the ideas in his book.

Analysis and Commentary

Jesse Ausubel On Agriculture, Technology, And The Return Of Nature

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 24, 2015

Thousands of bears in New Jersey. Humpback whales near New York City. Acres devoted to farming stable or declining even as food production soars.

In the News

Rachel Laudan On The History Of Food And Cuisine

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 17, 2015

Rachel Laudan, visiting scholar at the University of Texas and author of Cuisine and Empire, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of food.

In the News

Summer Brennan On Wilderness, Politics And The Oyster War

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Brennan, author of The Oyster War, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book and the fight between the Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the federal government over farming oysters in the Point Reyes National Seashore

In the News

Roger Berkowitz On Fish, Food, And Legal Sea Foods

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, August 3, 2015

Seafood is highly perishable and supply is often uncertain. Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of running 34 seafood restaurants up and down the east coast.

In the News

Wences Casares On Bitcoin And Xapo

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 20, 2015

Wences Casares, bitcoin evangelist and founder and CEO of Xapo, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how bitcoin works, the genius of bitcoin's creator, and how Xapo is structured to create security for bitcoin banking.

In the News

Alvin Roth On Matching Markets

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, July 6, 2015

Nobel Laureate Alvin Roth of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on matching markets. Examples include marriage, matching kidney donors to kidney recipients, and students to schools in cities that allow choice in their public school systems.

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In the News

Matt Ridley On Climate Change

by Russell Robertsvia EconTalk
Monday, June 29, 2015

Science writer and author Matt Ridley discusses climate change with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Analysis and Commentary

Krugman Is Human, Just Like Me

by Russell Robertsvia Cafe Hayek
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Krugman has responded to my claims about empirical evidence, confirmation bias, and the lack of science in macro policy discussions. Here’s the argument so far.