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

Do Steps Toward Freedom Create Net Benefits?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Noah Smith recently wrote a piece titled "Being an Ideologue Means Never Having to Say You're Wrong."

Analysis and Commentary

Social Security Reformer

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has come up with a very clever tool. It's called "The Reformer: An Interactive Tool to Fix Social Security." Notice that it's to fix Social Security, not what I would like to see, which is abolition. But still, it's very clever and, assuming the underlying model is done right, it's illuminating.

Analysis and Commentary

Lester Versus DiMicco On NAFTA

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Simon Lester, at Cato at Liberty, has a telling Twitter discussion with Dan DiMicco of Nucor Steel. DiMicco is an adviser to president candidate Donald Trump.

Analysis and Commentary

Working Around FDA Regulation

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 15, 2016

Premium cigar makers, racing to pump out new brands before stricter rules took effect this week, have flooded the market with hundreds of new smokes, some a bit "green," with rough labels--one exec put his daughters to work cutting out bands--and odd distribution schemes, to get into the marketplace under the wire.

Housing Image
Analysis and Commentary

The Case For Low-Income Housing

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Any discussion of trailer parks should start with the fact that most forms of low-income housing have been criminalized in nearly every major US city. Beginning in the 1920s, urban policymakers and planners started banning what they deemed as low-quality housing, including boarding houses, residential hotels, and low-quality apartments.

Analysis and Commentary

The Ugly Ugly FDA's Cartel Enforcement

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 13, 2016

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. They contain nicotine, a chemical derived from tobacco and other plants.

Analysis and Commentary

The Perverse Death/Estate Tax

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 12, 2016

Paul Krugman recently posted about Donald Trump's proposal for eliminating the death tax, aka the estate tax. But Paul really only scratched the surface. The death tax has a number of perverse effects, none of which Paul discusses.

Analysis and Commentary

Common Arguments Against Immigration

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, August 11, 2016

New research by Harvard professor George Borjas on the effect of the Mariel Boatlift - a giant shock to Miami's labor market that increased the size of its population by 7 percent in 42 days - finds large negative wage effects concentrated on Americans with less than a high school degree.

Analysis and Commentary

My First Seven Jobs

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Various friends on Facebook have been posting about their first 7 jobs, but typically without comment. What I would find more interesting, and I encourage you to give your own, is a list of the jobs along with something about them: whether you liked the job, what you learned, etc.

Analysis and Commentary

Fama Versus Thaler

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Normally, when I face a choice between watching a 40-minute video and reading the transcript, I do the latter. My main reason is that I can read the transcript in 5 to 7 minutes.