Prof. Russ Roberts

Ph.D., University of Chicago
B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Prof. Russ Roberts is President-Designate of Shalem College. An economist, writer and teacher, he is also the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the founder of EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious, an award-winning weekly podcast with more than 750 episodes and millions of unique downloads. Past EconTalk guests include Yuval Noah Harari, Martha Nussbaum, Milton Friedman, Thomas Piketty, Angela Duckworth, Christopher Hitchens, Agnes Callard, Bill James, Emily Oster, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, A.J. Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato, Alan Lightman, Dwayne Betts, and Michael Lewis.

His latest book is Gambling With Other People’s Money: How Perverse Incentives Caused the Financial Crisis (Hoover Institution Press, 2019). Roberts explores the role that past bailouts played in the risk-taking that led to the financial crisis of 2008. In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (Portfolio/Penguin 2014), Roberts 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, all of which teach 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 that create and sustain 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.

Together with filmmaker John Papola, Roberts has produced two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, both of which have had more than 11 million YouTube views, have been subtitled in 11 languages, and are used in high school and college economics classrooms around the world. He is also author of the poem and animated video “It’s a Wonderful Loaf,” which elucidates the patterns of daily life that emerge without coordination. His series on the challenge of using data to establish truth, The Numbers Game, can be found at PolicyEd.org. Roberts archives his videos and other work at RussRoberts.info.

Roberts has taught at Stanford University, the University of California, Los Angeles, George Mason University, the University of Rochester, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the director of what is now the Center for Experiential Learning. 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.

Selected Publications

Gambling with Other People's Money: How Perverse Incentives Caused the Financial Crisis (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2019)

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (New York: Portfolio, 2014)

The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (Princeton: Princeton, 2008)

The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (Cambridge: MIT, 2001)

The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (New York: Prentice Hall, 1994)

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