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

Robert P. Murphy: We've "Been Warning For Years"

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Austrian economist Robert P. Murphy writes: As shocking as these developments [drops in stock prices and increased volatility] may be to some analysts, those versed in the writings of economist Ludwig von Mises have been warning for years that the Federal Reserve was setting us up for another crash.

Analysis and Commentary

Bio Of Oliver Williamson

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The turning point in Williamson's thinking about markets and firms happened when he was an economist in 1966-67 with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Analysis and Commentary

Ask What Changed

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Many people are trotting out their pet theories for why the stock market has crashed in the last week. Some of them may even be right. But there's one question we should ask of all of them: What changed?

Analysis and Commentary

Chinese Entrepreneurs In Egypt

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 24, 2015

Nobody in the family seems intimidated by life in Asyut, and they don't consider themselves successful; Chen and Lin often say that their factory is just a low-level industry.

Analysis and Commentary

Government's Misinformation About Herbal Supplements

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 24, 2015

A few days ago, I posted about a problem with government provision of information and government's mandates that private firms provide information. The problem: there's no guarantee and, moreover, no reason to think, that the government will provide or mandate the right information.

David R. Henderson
Analysis and Commentary

Our Rights Versus Government "Rights"

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 23, 2015

In a post earlier this morning, in which I responded to Kurt Schlichter, I quoted the following from Schlichter: Number One: We Americans have an absolute right to decide who does and doesn't come into our country and the conditions under which they may do so.

Analysis and Commentary

A Problem With Information Mandates

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Even many very pro-free-market economists, noting that there is imperfect information in the marketplace, advocate that government provide information or require private firms to provide information.

Analysis and Commentary

Krugman's Strange Conclusion

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 21, 2015

UPDATE: I was wrong. Alex Tabarrok has provided the data from FRED. I should have done so. Median family income was $56,447 in 1984, down slightly from $56,585 in 1980.

Analysis and Commentary

Jerry Brown's Rail And Tom Sawyer's Elaborate Escape Plan For Jim

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 21, 2015

I try to reread 3 books ever 10 years or so: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lucky Jim, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This summer, the second book I read was Huck Finn.

Analysis and Commentary

Bryson On Eugenics

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In his book One Summer, about America in 1927, Bill Bryson writes: Remarkably, the Ku Klux Klan was not the most dangerous outpost of bigotry in America in the period. That distinction belonged, extraordinary though it is to state, to a coalition of academics and scientists.

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