David R. Henderson

Research Fellow
Biography: 

David R. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution. He is also a 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, CNBC Squawk Box, MSNBC, BBC, CBC, the Fox News Channel, RT, 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

The Ethics Of Charles Koch

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charles [Koch] is a true believer, whose free-market beliefs are unquestionably self-interested--but also undeniably sincere. His value system is apparent in all aspects of his company, including Koch's lobbying operation. Until the early 1990s, the company didn't have a Washington presence; this, one former Koch lobbyist said, reflected Charles's inherent distrust of politicians and his anti-government bent. 

Charles Koch
Analysis and Commentary

Sons Of Wichita

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 14, 2017

On my vacation, which is coming to an end, the first book I read was Daniel Schulman's Sons of Wichita. It's subtitled "How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty." Written by an editor of Mother JonesSons of Wichita is, in my semi-informed opinion, largely fair.

Analysis and Commentary

Hooper's Law Of Drug Development

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 7, 2017

Moore's Law is optimistic and reflects the ability of humans to "chip" away at a problem, making sequential, cumulative advances. Much of technology fits this pattern. One glaring exception, tragically, is the drug development conducted by pharmaceutical companies.

Analysis and Commentary

Good News On Employment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight writes: Prime-age employment rate hits 78.7%, highest since September 2008.

Analysis and Commentary

Markets For Everything, Minaki Edition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 4, 2017

View a photo of a live bait vending machine at a marina near my cottage at Minaki.

Analysis and Commentary

I, Needle Nose Pliers

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The main insight from the classic "I, Pencil" is that no single person knows how to make a pencil but that it is made using an extensive, international division of labor and is done so well and efficiently that one high-quality pencil costs only a small amount of money.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson And Cochrane On Climate Policy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, July 31, 2017

Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is "real," both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby's policy agenda follows inexorably.

Featured

Climate Change Isn’t The End Of The World

by David R. Henderson, John H. Cochrane via Wall Street Journal
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Even if world temperatures rise, the appropriate policy response is still an open question.

Analysis and Commentary

Friedman, Galbraith, And Wright On American Capitalism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Capitalism" has become a fighting word in the battle between East and West and for men's minds everywhere; and, like all slogans, it means many things to many men. To some "capitalism" is a term of opprobrium, signifying the oppression of little men by ruthless monopolies; to others "capitalism" is a term of hope, signifying the freedom of men to shape their own economic destinies, the unleashing of human ingenuity and energy to raise the standard of living of the masses.

Analysis and Commentary

A Knight Tale

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I'm wearing the actual poker hat that Frank Knight wore when he worked on articles. Here' the tale of how that came to be.

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