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

Kenneth Arrow, RIP

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

Yesterday, Nobel Prize winning economist Kenneth Arrow died. Many first-rate appreciations of him have been published and I won't try to duplicate what they have said.

Analysis and Commentary

How San Diego Built A Bridge Over The Wall

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

That's the title of a great article in Politico by Ethan Epstein. There's so much interesting in there: How forward-looking San Diegans figured out how to get a better airport without using a military base--and why. 

Analysis and Commentary

Freedom Of Speech And Private Property

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In the last few days, I've seen a number of discussions, mainly on Facebook, in which even some libertarians have claimed that two people's free speech rights were violated in two recent events. I was thinking about writing about it, but then I found that Casey Given has already done so.

Hoover fellow Richard Epstein on income inequality.
Analysis and Commentary

Bryan Caplan's Best Line And My Thoughts

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

I used part of my time to watch on Facebook co-blogger Bryan's debate with Will Wilkinson about the Universal Basic Income. I thought Bryan knocked it out of the park, both with his prepared presentation that he posted about today and with his back and forth with Will.

Analysis and Commentary

Taxes And Deadweight Loss

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, February 18, 2017

In his excellent post on taxes and the incidence of taxes, co-blogger Scott Sumner does not mention another important issue in taxation: deadweight loss. The deadweight loss from a tax is the part of the loss to those who bear the tax that does not go to the government. Thus the term "deadweight." (Scott's graph shows a small deadweight loss, but he does not elaborate on this.)

Tax cuts and reforms
Analysis and Commentary

Why Tyler Cowen's Pessimism Fails To Persuade Me

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 17, 2017

In his excellent post on taxes and the incidence of taxes, co-blogger Scott Sumner does not mention another important issue in taxation: deadweight loss. The deadweight loss from a tax is the part of the loss to those who bear the tax that does not go to the government. Thus the term "deadweight." (Scott's graph shows a small deadweight loss, but he does not elaborate on this.)

Why Tyler Cowen's Pessimism Fails To Persuade Me

by David R. Henderson
Friday, February 17, 2017

"Why should it be different this time?" So asks Tyler Cowen in opening his recent Bloomberg article "Industrial Revolution Comparisons Aren't Comforting." The idea of people who ask that question--I'm one of them--is that the Industrial Revolution worked out pretty well, permanently raising living standards and then leading to a growth trajectory.

Analysis and Commentary

Protectionism Is Inflationary

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Co-blogger Scott Sumner wrote a post recently titled "Protectionism is Not Inflationary." I disagree. Thus the title of this post.

Analysis and Commentary

Move Over, Stock Market: The U.K. Statisticians Are Contending

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

In 1996, U.K. statisticians estimated 10 recessions between 1955 and 1995. In 2012, other U.K. statisticians "disappeared" 3 of them.

Analysis and Commentary

The Case For Check-Cashing Stores

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

To understand why people use check-cashing services, which are looked down on by many "sophisticated" analysts, Lisa Servon (an economist in disguise) worked in one for 4 months and asked a lot of questions.

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