Russ Roberts

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Russ Roberts
Born (1954-09-19) September 19, 1954 (age 63)[1][2]
Memphis, Tennessee
Website www.russroberts.info
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
Adam Smith

Russell David "Russ" Roberts (born September 19, 1954) is an economist and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.[3][4] He is well known for communicating economic ideas in understandable terms[5] as host of the EconTalk podcast.[6]

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."[7]

Education[edit]

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[8][9] under the supervision of Gary Becker.[10][11]

Career[edit]

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[12] with Donald J. Boudreaux at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia.[13]

Unconventional books about economics[edit]

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.[14]

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).[15]

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.[16] 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."[17]

Policy positions[edit]

Roberts has urged those who formulate public policy and the economists who advise them to be more skeptical of the findings of empirical studies,[18] 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.[19]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 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[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Velasquez-Manoff on Autoimmune Disease, Parasites, and Complexity". EconTalk. Retrieved 5 March 2014. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1954. 
  2. ^ "Birthday thoughts". EconLog. September 19, 2011. I turned 57 today 
  3. ^ "Russell Roberts profile". Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Retrieved August 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ Russ Roberts (5 September 2012). "Joining Hoover full-time". Cafe Hayek. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Editorial staff (August 31, 2010). "In Praise of . . . EconTalk". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 6, 2017. 
  6. ^ "EconTalk, hosted by Russ Roberts". Library of Economics and Liberty. Economics podcast for daily life. Weekly interviews with guests ranging from small business owners to Nobel Laureates. 
  7. ^ Kenney, Allen (March 16, 2015). "Russ Roberts Applies Adam Smith to Modern-Day Issues". REIT.com and Real Estate Investment Trusts magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ A positive analysis of the design of government transfer programs
  9. ^ "Russ Roberts' CV" (PDF). Mercatus Center, George Mason University. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Chris Anderson on Makers and Manufacturing". EconTalk. Retrieved 1 January 2013. I remember when Gary Becker, my adviser in graduate school wrote a book 
  11. ^ "Gary Becker, RIP". Cafe Hayek. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Cafe Hayek
  13. ^ http://economics.gmu.edu/people/rrobert2
  14. ^ "Book review of The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance". Publisher's Weekly. February 1, 2001. Retrieved July 29, 2017. 
  15. ^ Steelman, Aaron (Fall 2008). "Bringing Life to the Dismal Science: Book review of The Price of Everything" (PDF). Region Focus ("The economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond"). Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  16. ^ Gregoire, Carolyn (September 9, 2014). "Before ‘The Wealth Of Nations,’ Adam Smith Penned The Ultimate Guide To A Moral Life". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  17. ^ Brown, David (November 23, 2014). "Book review of ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness’, by Russ Roberts". Financial Times. London. Retrieved July 30, 2017. 
  18. ^ Smith, Noah (March 15, 2017). "How to Restore Faith in Economics: Mathematical theories didn't predict the Great Recession. Research grounded in data should hold up better.". Bloomberg View. Retrieved August 4, 2017. [S]keptics [like Roberts] are telling us to discount the empirical evidence now pouring out of the economics profession. [They] note that many empirical studies disagree with each other, and others are later proven wrong. 
  19. ^ Peterson, Kyle (May 13, 2016). "When All Economics Is Political: The dismal science has too much junk science, says Russ Roberts, an evangelist for humility in a discipline where it is often hard to find.". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 

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