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

Larry Summers's Perspective And Mine

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 8, 2016

I'm presently working my way through, and enjoying, Robert J. Gordon's magnum opus, The Rise and Fall of American Growth. I'm reviewing it for Regulation and already, just 30 pages in, I'm seeing some problems.

Analysis and Commentary

Altruism, No Regard For Some Others, Or Belief In The Tooth Fairy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 7, 2016

I gave a talk yesterday at a Fraser Institute event in Toronto. The luncheon speaker, neuro-economist Paul Zak, did a great job talking about oxytocin and its role in our systems. He started out beautifully, contrasting Thomas Hobbes's view of life in Leviathan with Adam Smith's view in The Theory of Moral Sentiments

David R. Henderson
Analysis and Commentary

My First Speech At St. John's: How Economists Helped End The Draft

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 4, 2016

I will also be giving a talk at St. John's on Wednesday night but I don't have the link for that yet.

Immigration
Analysis and Commentary

Comedian Tackles Immigration

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Comedian Steve Gerben has a 30-minute comedy act on immigration. His idea is brilliant. I had never before thought of reaching people on that touchy subject with comedy, but he does an excellent job.

Analysis and Commentary

Studies Of Public Goods

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In a comment on a recent post of mine about government spending on infrastructure, Ben H. wrote: This seems to ignore the problem of public goods. It is, arguably, pretty easy to identify public goods for which spending $1 increases total welfare across the population by more than $1, but which no individual person has an incentive to spend their own $1 upon.

Analysis and Commentary

Is The TPP Good Or Bad On Net?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If you read the latest Econlib Feature Article by Pierre Lemieux, "Free Trade and TPP," you won't have an answer to the title question of this post. So why I did I ask him to write it? Because I knew that Pierre would do a great job of laying out the pros and cons.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.
Analysis and Commentary

Janet, Janet: The Shrewd San Francisco Fed

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 1, 2016

This is my long overdue comment on what I observed at the meetings of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank in April 2014. I had previously given some highlights of my talk and commented on Glenn Rudebusch's talk.

Don't Make Canadians Poorer

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, January 31, 2016

In short, because the price of oil has fallen, Canadians as a whole are somewhat poorer than if the price had not fallen.

Analysis and Commentary

Huffington Post's Stunning Ignorance Of Immigration Law

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Yes, we're planning to add this note to all future stories about Trump," the [Huffington Post] spokesperson said. "No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we'll append a note under pieces about them."

Analysis and Commentary

Gordon On Growth: Rates Versus Levels

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

I'm looking forward to reading Robert Gordon's new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth. PBS recently did an 8-minute segment on it that lays out his argument nicely.

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