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Russ Roberts

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Name  Russ Roberts

Role  Economist
Education  University of Chicago
Russ Roberts mercatusorgsitesdefaultfilesRussRobertsjpg

Born  September 19, 1954 (age 61) (1954-09-19) Memphis, Tennessee
School or tradition  Chicago School, Austrian School
Alma mater  University of Chicago (Ph.D.) University of North Carolina (B.A.)
Influences  Gary Becker Friedrich Hayek Milton Friedman
Influenced by  Gary Becker, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman
Books  The Invisible Heart: An, The Price of Everything, Zeus (Profiles in Greek, Athena (Profiles in Greek, Profiles in Greek & Roman M

Russ roberts why keynesians always get it wrong and most economists too

Russell David "Russ" Roberts (born September 19, 1954) is an economist and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He is well known for communicating economic ideas in understandable terms as host of the EconTalk podcast.


Russ Roberts Russell Roberts Hoover Institution

Roberts categorizes himself as a proponent of classical economic liberalism. He has said, "I believe in limited government combined with personal responsibility. So I am something of a libertarian, but . . . that term comes with some baggage and some confusion."

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Roberts was awarded a B.A. in economics in 1975 from the University of North Carolina and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1981 for his thesis on the design of government transfer programs under the supervision of Gary Becker.


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 is a regular commentator on business and economics for National Public Radio's Morning Edition, and has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Roberts also blogs at Cafe Hayek with Donald J. Boudreaux at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Unconventional books about economics

Roberts has written a number of books which seek to illustrate economic concepts in interesting and unusual ways.

In 2001 he published the novel The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance, which conveys economic ideas through conversations between two fictional teachers at an exclusive high school in Washington, D.C.: one is a market oriented economics instructor, and the other is an English teacher who wants governmental protections that curb the excesses of unrestrained capitalism.

In 2008, Roberts released another novel, The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity, which focuses on the experiences of Ramon Fernandez, a university student and star tennis player who, as a child, accompanied his mother to the U.S. after she fled from Fidel Castro's Cuba. Like The Invisible Heart, The Price of Everything uses conversations between its main characters to address economic concepts (in this case ideas such as the price system, spontaneous order and the possibility of price gauging in crisis situations).

In 2014 Roberts offered an uncommon perspective on Adam Smith, a very standard - even orthodox - subject in economics. Roberts' book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness did not discuss Smith's crucial 1776 work, The Wealth of Nations; it focused instead on Smith's much less well-known book first published in 1759, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. According to a book review published in the Financial Times, Roberts' take on Smith's earlier book dispels the popular notion that "Adam Smith was the original Gordon Gekko, insisting greed is good . . . . [I]t turns out that this view is a misconception – one that Russ Roberts seeks to redress . . . by showing how the grandfather of the dismal science can make you a better, happier and more fulfilled person."

Policy positions

Roberts has urged those who formulate public policy and the economists who advise them to be more skeptical of the findings of empirical studies, and he views ultra-specific claims by politicians that their promoted policies will produce a certain number of jobs or a certain amount of growth as inherently unreliable.


  • The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (1st ed.). Prentice Hall. 1994. ISBN 0-13-083008-9. OCLC 29357777. 
  • The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall. 2006. ISBN 0-13-143354-7. OCLC 70839758. 
  • The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism (CD audio). Princeton, NJ: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. 2002. OCLC 51110966. 
  • The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (1st ed.). MIT Press. 2002. ISBN 0-262-68135-8. OCLC 44413917. 
  • The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (1st ed.). Princeton University Press. 2008. ISBN 0-691-14335-8. OCLC 231587398. 
  • Gambling with other people's money: how perverted incentives caused the financial crisis. Legatum Institute. 2010. ISBN 1-907409-06-8. OCLC 751698980. 
  • How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. Portfolio Hardcover. 2014. ISBN 978-1-59184-684-0. OCLC 881681030. 
  • Articles and papers

  • Roberts, Russ. "Working Papers in Economics": Domestic Studies Program (Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace):
  • Roberts, Russ (1986). Financing public goods. no. E-86-9. OCLC 39865959. 
  • Also published as: Roberts, Russ (April 1987). "Financing public goods". Journal of Political Economy. Chicago Journals. 95 (2): 420–437. doi:10.1086/261463. 
  • Roberts, Russ (1988). Subsidies to Private Spending on Public Goods. no. E-88-22. OCLC 22871627. 
  • Also published as: Roberts, Russ (September 1992). "Government subsidies to private spending on public goods". Public Choice. Springer. 74 (2): 133–152. JSTOR 30025593. doi:10.1007/bf00140763. 
  • Roberts, Russ (February 1984). "A positive model of private charity and public transfers". Journal of Political Economy. Chicago Journals. 92 (1): 136–148. doi:10.1086/261212. 
  • Roberts, Russ (January 1985). "A taxonomy of public provision". Public Choice, special issue: Carnegie Papers on Political Economy, Volume 5: Proceedings on the Carnegie Conference on Political Economy. Springer. 47 (1): 267–303. JSTOR 30024844. doi:10.1007/BF00119360. 
  • Roberts, Russ (April 1985). "Recipient preferences and the design of government transfer programs". Journal of Law and Economics. Chicago Journals. 28 (1): 27–546. doi:10.1086/467074. 
  • Roberts, Russ (June 1989). "Why comply: one-sided enforcement of price controls and victimless crime laws". Journal of Legal Studies. Chicago Journals. 18 (2): 403–414. JSTOR 3085626. doi:10.1086/468152. 
  • Roberts, Russ; Lott, John R. (January 1991). "A guide to the pitfalls of identifying price discrimination". Economic Inquiry. Wiley. 29 (1): 14–23. doi:10.1111/j.1465-7295.1991.tb01249.x. 
  • Roberts, Russ (May 1992). "When does a decrease in a distortion increase welfare?". Economic Letters. Elsevier. 39 (1): 37–42. doi:10.1016/0165-1765(92)90098-J. 
  • References

    Russ Roberts Wikipedia