David R. Henderson

Research Fellow
Biography: 

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

My Response To Scott Sumner

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 26, 2016

I'm still scratching my head at co-blogger Scott Sumner's recent post titled "You're not special." It seems like a combination of extreme subjectivism, denial of subjectivism, putting his thumb on the obvious, and argument from authority. 

Analysis and Commentary

To Vote Or Not To Vote?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One of my favorite writers and thinkers on the Cato blog, Cato at Liberty, is Jim Harper. He posted yesterday on voting, titling his piece "Don't Not Vote." He makes some good points but goes too far. The issue for me, by the way, is not that I disagree with his bottom line: I vote pretty regularly. But reasons matter.

Analysis and Commentary

Must A Business Serve The Whole Public?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 23, 2016

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, running for the Presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party, wrote on Facebook: In a nationally-televised debate among three of the Libertarian candidates for President (A debate that should, by the way, have been more inclusive of all the candidates.), a highly unlikely hypothetical question was raised about whether a Jewish baker has the right to refuse to serve a Nazi sympathizer asking for a "Nazi cake".

Analysis and Commentary

Krugman's Orwellian Language: Less Bargaining Power Is More

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 22, 2016

The other story was about a policy change achieved through executive action: The Obama administration issued new guidelines on overtime pay, which will benefit an estimated 12.5 million workers. What both stories tell us is that the Obama a

Analysis and Commentary

My Daughter The Juror

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 20, 2016

My daughter, Karen Henderson, a resident of San Francisco, recently served on a California jury for almost two weeks for $15 a day. She is self-employed and her opportunity cost, therefore, was quite high.

Analysis and Commentary

Did Global Warming Help Cause California's Drought?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 20, 2016

President Obama and Governor Brown believe the science is settled and carbon emissions lead to droughts. Before we test the veracity of their beliefs, consider that many of the warmest places on Earth, such as rainforests, are both warm and wet. Further, some of the driest places on Earth, such as Antarctica and Siberia, are also the coldest. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Did Global Warming Cause California’s Drought?

by David R. Henderson, Charles L. Hoopervia Defining Ideas
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Climate change alarmists claim the “science is settled”—but that is far from the truth. 

Analysis and Commentary

Morley Safer, RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 19, 2016

CBS Sixty Minutes reporter Morley Safer died today. He was one of my favorites. He had that smile of doubt when he was hearing someone he interviewed tell him what he thought was a spin. He was also a fellow Canadian who became an American, while retaining Canadian citizenship.

Analysis and Commentary

We're Number 10! We're Number 10!

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A site called "Intelligent Economist" has posted its ranking of the "Top 100 Economics Blogs of 2016." And guess what? We're number 10.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Bernie Doesn't Quit: Public Choice 101

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jesse Walker, over at Reason's Hit and Run, just posted an excellent piece making an obvious point. I'm not undercutting him here: part of why it's obvious is that he says it so well.

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