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

Angelo Codevilla On Freedom Of Association

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 29, 2016

In a very pessimistic essay about America's future, my former Hoover colleague Angelo Codevilla writes: What goes by the name "constitutional law" has been eclipsing the U.S. Constitution for a long time.

Analysis and Commentary

Charles L. Schultze RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Charlie Schultze, Brookings Institution economist and former economic adviser to President Jimmy Carter has died at age 91.

Analysis and Commentary

The Biggest Loser: Lester Holt

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Although Donald Trump is a very close second. And, I agree with Paul Krugman but he left something out.

Analysis and Commentary

The U.S. Postwar Miracle

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Co-blogger Scott Sumner posted yesterday some interesting facts and figures about the post World War II economic boom in the United States that came after the U.S. government cut government spending massively.

Analysis and Commentary

Paul Romer On Paul Volcker

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 23, 2016

Economist Paul Romer reprints a letter he received from an aspiring graduate student in economics and his response to the reader. There is much that is valuable in the letter. In fact, it's on net valuable.

Analysis and Commentary

The Humanity Of McDonald's

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 23, 2016

If a government agency were as effective, Hilary and Bernie would never let us hear the end of it.

Analysis and Commentary

A Community Comes Together

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Four years ago, I posted about Rolf Penner, a Manitoba farmer who was fighting the Canadian Wheat Board, the government-run monopsony that bought and then resold the wheat produced by western Canada's farmers. My interaction with him led to an invite to visit him on his farm while I was at my cottage that summer. I accepted and had a great visit.

Analysis and Commentary

Incentives And Get Out The Vote

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Clinton and some of her supporters are unwittingly undercutting one of her big advantages: her "get out the vote" effort. Clinton is leaving nothing to chance, putting together a sophisticated get out the vote effort that rivals that of Barack Obama in 2012. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Case For Voting

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As I noted in "My Case for Activism," I found co-blogger Byran Caplan's objection to voting underwhelming. To be fair, he wasn't saying that other people shouldn't vote; rather, he was saying that he found voting "traumatizing."

Analysis and Commentary

Can U.S. Presidents Much Affect The U.S. Economy?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, September 19, 2016

One of my favorite newspaper columnists, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, has written an article titled "Trump's Economic Fraud." It's partly about what the title says it's about but it's mainly about the question I ask in the title above: Can U.S. Presidents Much Affect the U.S. Economy?. His answer is no.

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