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

DeLong On Gains From International Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, March 24, 2017

UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong has written one of the best short pieces on the gains from international trade. His post is titled "Are There Benefits from Free Trade?: DeLong FAQ."

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler Cowen Is A Semi-Persuasive Futurist

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My review of Tyler Cowen's latest book, The Complacent Class, is now out in the pages of Regulation. It's titled "Tyler Cowen: Semi-Persuasive Futurist."

Analysis and Commentary

Thoughts On The Republican Health Insurance Reform

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, March 20, 2017

I've held back on commenting in a big-picture sense on the Republicans' plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare. I've found comments by Megan McArdle, Peter Suderman, co-blogger Scott Sumner, and Steven Landsburg, among others, useful. They've tended to focus on many of the negative aspects of the plan.

Analysis and Commentary

When You Lose Something You Don't Want, Is That Really A Loss?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

One of the big findings in the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the Republican health proposal is that by 2018, about 14 million people who would have had health insurance will lose it.

Analysis and Commentary

This Is Misleading CNN--And CBO

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, March 13, 2017

On the way home from work this evening, I heard an incorrect statement of the latest CBO report's findings on the Republican-proposed health care bill. (I'll have more to say about the bill in a future post; I'm still digesting the opinions of others who seem to have looked at it more closely than I have.)

Analysis and Commentary

The Joys Of Yiddish And Economics

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, March 12, 2017

George Mason University economist Dan Klein has a fun paper, about to be published in the Independent Review, titled "The Joys of Yiddish and Economics."

Analysis and Commentary

Is Taxing One Item Because It's In A Subsidized Category A Good Idea?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Co-blogger Scott Sumner advocates keeping a tax on medical devices. His reason: the medical devices tax was far smaller than the subsidy on medical devices, which is enormous. (Subsidies include Medicare, Medicaid, tax deductibility of insurance, etc.)

Analysis and Commentary

Karl Smith's Weak Critique Of Veronique De Rugy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Karl Smith of the Niskanen Institute recently wrote a piece titled "Some Conservative Arguments against the Border Adjustment Tax are Pretty Weak." In the first paragraph, I immediately saw a problem.

Social Security
Analysis and Commentary

Opting Out Of Social Security

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, March 6, 2017

My suggestion is that the government, before making any major changes to the Social Security formulas, first allow Americans to opt out of the system, thereby avoiding any future payroll taxes but also forfeiting any accrued benefits. 

Analysis and Commentary

East Side Sushi Celebrates Labor Market

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, March 4, 2017

My wife and I saw a very good movie on HBO last night: East Side Sushi. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it at least an 8. As well as being first-rate drama, with a little humor, it's a beautiful illustration of how free labor markets work.

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