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 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

Mao's Murderousness

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, July 29, 2016

In the most important Marginal Revolution post this month, Alex Tabarrok quotes from Frank Dikotter's "Looking back on the Great Leap Forward," in History Today.

Analysis and Commentary

Risk Of Nuclear War

by David R. Hendersonquoting William J. Perryvia EconLog
Thursday, July 28, 2016

In my recent post "Incentives Matter for Politicians Too," I wrote: One of my biggest concerns is that Hillary Clinton as President would purposely or accidentally get the United States into a war with Putin.

Analysis and Commentary

A Cheap Economist Buys Lunch

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"These Are The Mind Tricks Restaurants Use To Make You Spend More Money." So reads the title of a recent article warning people about the various psychological tricks restaurants use to cause you to spend more.

Incentives Matter for Politicians Too

by David R. Henderson
Monday, July 25, 2016

In a Facebook comment on my recent post on Peter Thiel and Donald Trump's foreign policy views, my friend Stephen M. Jones wrote (I quote with his permission): Tyler Cowen had an important post linking this article about Trump and Putin.

Analysis and Commentary

Angela Duckworth On Grit

by David R. Hendersonvia EconTalk
Monday, July 25, 2016

How important is grit relative to talent? Can grit be taught? Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance talks with with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of success in work, play and life.

Analysis and Commentary

Highs And Lows Of The Republican Convention

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Watching and analyzing the Republican convention so that you didn't have to.

Analysis and Commentary

Peter Thiel On Foreign Policy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thiel, who supports gay marriage, plans to say that although he does not agree with all the policies in the official GOP platform, he believes fighting over cultural issues such as "bathroom bills" is a distraction from more important matters.

Analysis and Commentary

A Badly Misleading Title

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm back from my 18-day trip to my cottage in Canada and so, once again, I will be posting almost daily. I hate many things: one of them is price controls and another is badly misleading titles.

Analysis and Commentary

Don't Worry About Canada Becoming A 'Petrostate'

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

But imagine that Canada's oil production grows so much that it becomes as important to Canada as oil is to Saudi Arabia. Is that bad?

Analysis and Commentary

Great Moments In Sunk Cost

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, July 11, 2016

The third book I finished on my vacation at my cottage in Canada is Trudeau Revealed by David Somerville, BMG Publishing, 1978. It's surprisingly good, in that the author quotes extensively from Pierre Trudeau's writings in the 1950s and 1960s, and lets the reader make his own conclusions.