David R. Henderson

Research Fellow

David R. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution. He is also an associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Henderson's writing focuses on public policy. His specialty is in making economic issues and analyses clear and interesting to general audiences. Two themes emerge from his writing: (1) that the unintended consequences of government regulation and spending are usually worse than the problems they are supposed to solve and (2) that freedom and free markets work to solve people's problems.

David Henderson is the editor of The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (Warner Books, 2007), a book that communicates to a general audience what and how economists think. The Wall Street Journal commented, "His brainchild is a tribute to the power of the short, declarative sentence." The encyclopedia went through three printings and was translated into Spanish and Portuguese. It is now online at the Library of Economics and Liberty. He coauthored Making Great Decisions in Business and Life (2006). Henderson's book, The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001), has been translated into Russian. Henderson also writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal and Fortune and, from 1997 to 2000, was a monthly columnist with Red Herring, an information technology magazine. He currently serves as an adviser to LifeSharers, a nonprofit network of organ and tissue donors.

Henderson has been on the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School since 1984 and a research fellow with Hoover since 1990. He was the John M. Olin Visiting Professor with the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in St. Louis in 1994; a senior economist for energy and health policy with the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984; a visiting professor at the University of Santa Clara from 1980 to 1981; a senior policy analyst with the Cato Institute from 1979 to 1980; and an assistant professor at the University of Rochester's Graduate School of Management from 1975 to 1979.

In 1997, he received the Rear Admiral John Jay Schieffelin Award for excellence in teaching from the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1984, he won the Mencken Award for best investigative journalism article for his Fortune article "The Myth of MITI."

Henderson has written for the New York Times, Barron's, Fortune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Public Interest, the Christian Science Monitor, National Review, the New York Daily News, the Dallas Morning News, and Reason. He has also written scholarly articles for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Monetary Economics, Cato Journal, Regulation, Contemporary Policy Issues, and Energy Journal.

Henderson has spoken before a wide variety of audiences, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the St. Louis Discussion Club, the Commonwealth Club of California (National Defense and Business Economics Section), the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. He has also spoken to economists and general audiences at many universities around the country, including Carnegie-Mellon, Brown, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School, and the Hoover Institution. He has given papers at annual conferences held by the American Economics Association, the Western Economics Association, and the Association of Public Policy and Management. He has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He has also appeared on the O'Reilly Factor (Fox News), C-SPAN, CNN, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and regional talk shows.

Born and raised in Canada, Henderson earned his bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Winnipeg in 1970 and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1976.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Canada Can't Dodge Two Bullets

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, October 24, 2016

At this writing, the odds that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency are very high.

Social Security
Analysis and Commentary

Krugman's Strange View About Planning For The Future

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, October 22, 2016

Paul Krugman, in a post today titled "Debt, Diversion, Distraction," argues, as his title implies, that we get diverted and distracted from more important issues if we worry about the coming high deficits and debt. His reasoning is faulty.

Analysis and Commentary

Bio Of Paul Krugman

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, October 21, 2016

In 2008, U.S. economist Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Krugman, one of the best-known economists in the world, is familiar to the public mainly through his regular column in the New York Times and for his New York Times blog titled "The Conscience of a Liberal." 

Analysis and Commentary

What Has Congress Ever Done For Us?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, October 20, 2016

I've been catching up on Wall Street Journal issues that piled up over the summer. One particularly good unsigned editorial (the Journal calls these "Review and Outlook") was the July 19 (July 20 print edition) editorial titled "What Has Congress Ever Done for Us?"

Analysis and Commentary

One Congressman Can Sometimes Do A Lot, Part II

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I posted yesterday about Justin Amash's Cato University speech. Below is most of the rest of it. I'm putting his parts in block quotes. The italics are his. My comments follow where appropriate. I'll end with comments on Public Choice.

Analysis and Commentary

One Congressman Can Sometimes Do A Lot, Part I

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This is from a recent speech given by Justin Amash, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan, at Cato University.

Analysis and Commentary

How The Free Market Breaks Down Discrimination

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, October 17, 2016

In 1992, I went to San Francisco's Candlestick Park to see the Giants play the Cincinnati Reds. To get into the baseball spirit, I wore my blue L.A. Dodgers helmet. (I root for both the Giants and Dodgers, but I figured why buy a Giants' helmet when I already had a Dodgers' one?) I was sitting in the stands when a young man came by selling hot dogs. 

Analysis and Commentary

Consumer Surplus And The Presidential Election

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, October 16, 2016

I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. and, as is my wont, reached for my iPhone. On it was a message I've never seen before. It told me that there was an activation lock on my phone.

Analysis and Commentary


by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, October 14, 2016

I often get the impression from various people's comments on my posts that they think that when I write words to the effect that "Person X didn't do this bad thing," "Person Y did this bad thing," "Person Z did this good thing," or "Person A didn't do this good thing," I'm making an overall judgment about the person.

Analysis and Commentary

The Most Important Economic Idea

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Questioner: If there was one economic idea you could explain to everyone on earth, what would it be?