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 on the web at http://www.econlib.org/library/CEE.html. 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


My Review Of Barbara Bergmann

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bergmann, professor of economics at the University of Maryland, argues persuasively that women are occupationally segregated and major victims of job discrimination.


Bernanke And Poole On Secular Stagnation

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does the U.S. economy face secular stagnation? I am skeptical, and the sources of my skepticism go beyond the fact that the U.S. economy looks to be well on the way to full employment today.


Mankiw's Textbook On Determinants Of Demand Elasticity

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, April 19, 2015

I like the book, which is why I use it, but each time I use it, I find things that are off. In a section on determinants of elasticity of demand, Mankiw lists four. The first is "Availability of Close Substitutes." The third is "Definition of the Market."

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Substitution In Nicotine Consumption

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, April 17, 2015

If the FDA regulates, it will not be to make e-cigarettes more available. It will be to make them more costly, either in terms of accessibility or in terms of price, or both. If so, the FDA regulation will slow this healthy substitution away from more-toxic substances.


Did Edwin Cannan Think A 100 Percent Income Tax Rate Was Fair?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The earliest 20th-century reference I have been able to find to a Laffer curve effect is in a 1901 article by London School of Economics professor Edwin Cannan.


The Public Choice Behind Carbon Taxes

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, April 10, 2015

Jerry Taylor of the Niskanen Center, who co-authored an excellent piece, "Energy," in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, has a post titled "Oil and Gas Industry Opinions about Climate Change."


Krugman's Insightful Analysis Of Libertarians

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, April 9, 2015

I was too busy on April 1 to post an April Fool's Day entry. This isn't one. But my use of the word "insightful" in the title is meant to be ironic.


Ed Dolan On ShadowStats

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It is hard to think of a website so loved by its followers and so scorned by economists as John Williams' ShadowStats, a widely cited source of alternative economic data on inflation and other economic indicators.

David R. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution.

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

After the horrible murders of workers at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January, it became chic for a few weeks to wear buttons saying "I am Charlie Hebdo." I thought that was a mistake then and I almost wrote a blog post on it.


Basketball Team Composition And Relative Prices

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 6, 2015

I've been too busy to watch much of the NCAA March/April madness, but I started watching the final game tonight. When I realized that it's a private school (Duke) vs. a government school (U. of Wisconsin), I made a prediction.