How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life



I take the ideas in Smith's little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and apply them to the modern world—lessons for work, family, friendship, and how to live the good life.

“A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself. Like having a conversation and a scotch with Adam Smith, or even better, Russ Roberts."

—NASSIM TALEB, author of The Black Swan


Know Your Limits

This article originally appeared in The European on 02/21/13.

When asked for proof of the effectiveness of Keynes’s prescription of deficit spending to cure an ailing economy, Keynesians usually point to World War II—government ran large deficits, GDP surged, and unemployment disappeared.

Why Friedrich Hayek is Making a Comeback

This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 28, 2010.

He was born in the 19th century, wrote his most influential book more than 65 years ago, and he’s not quite as well known or beloved as the sexy Mexican actress who shares his last name. Yet somehow, Friedrich Hayek is on the rise. READ ARTICLE »

Gambling with Other People’s Money

How Perverted Incentives Caused the Financial Crisis


Is the Dismal Science Really a Science?

This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal on February 26, 2010

For an economist, these are the best of times and the worst of times. We live in the best of times because everyone wants to understand what happened to the economy and what’s going to happen next. READ ARTICLE »

Congressional Testimony, Dec. 10, 2009

This is the text of my testimony before the Joint Economic Commitee on December 10, 2009. It differs from the text in the Congressional Record that was submitted in advance. This is the actual text I delivered. Video of my testimony (along with Joseph Stiglitz’s testimony, opening statements by the committee members, and the Q and A) is available here. My testimony starts at 58:15.

A man once asked his doctor how much weight he’d lose if he skipped his daily breakfast of a bagel with butter, about 350 calories. The doctor said if you can do that every day for a month, you’ll lose three pounds. READ ARTICLE »

  • 12.10.09

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How Little We Know

Here is my take on financial reform from the latest issue of The Economists’ Voice.
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Congressional Testimony, Oct. 28, 2009

What follows is my testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, delivered October 28, 2009. The topic was executive compensation and the Special Master for TARP Compensation, Kenneth Feinberg, who was determining compensation at the firms who had not repaid their TARP funds. READ ARTICLE »

  • 10.28.09

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Will Time Prove Ben Bernanke Wrong?

(This piece appeared on on 8/25/09)

President Obama has reappointed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, praising his creativity in preventing another Great Depression. READ ARTICLE »

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Halve The Deficit? Good Luck, Obama

(This piece appeared on on 2/25/09)

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama pledged to cut the federal budget deficit in half in four years.

Keeping that pledge won’t be easy. READ ARTICLE »

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What Economists Know and Do Not Know

(This piece appeared on the Boston Globe website on 2/2/09)

The House has passed an $819 billion spending package. Soon the Senate will vote. Will government spending get the economy going or slow it down? How long will it take to have an impact? How many jobs will it create? Can we afford it? READ ARTICLE »