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

Anger B&B

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 2, 2016

But the standard rendition of the B&B [Bootleggers and Baptists] story leaves out something that bootleggers and Baptists need to achieve their goals: emotion. One of the common emotions is anger, and the group whose anger is most important is voters.

Analysis and Commentary

More From Lester Thurow

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 1, 2016

In my post on the late Lester Thurow on April 15, I promised to post more from his book The Zero-Sum Society. Here are some further excerpts.

Analysis and Commentary

The Uberization Of Banking

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

But isn't SoFi cherry-picking loans? Absolutely. Why can't banks do this? Because if you use depositor money for loans, as all banks do, you fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Community Reinvestment Act, which bans discriminatory credit practices against low-income areas, known as redlining. 

Analysis and Commentary

Zywicki On Debt

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

The headlines are alarming. The New York Times panicked that Americans are "Running in Debt" and just a few years later warned that Americans were "Borrowing Trouble." Business Week asked, "Is the Country Swamped with Debt?" and U.S. News and World Report worried that "Never Have So Many Owed So Much." Harper's even expressed fear that "Debt Threatens Democracy."

Analysis and Commentary

Incomes, Spending, And Saving

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Earlier this month, I read two articles that were somewhat eye-opening to me about various Americans' views and actions on income, spending, and saving.

The Statue of Liberty.
Analysis and Commentary

Early American Immigrants

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Scott Alexander has written a fantastic review of David Fischer's Albion's Seed. The book is about early immigration to the Eastern United States. Alexander gives a nice summary of each of the 4 immigrant groups, along with some really interesting facts about them. In the process, he comes off as Dave Barry without the exaggeration.

Analysis and Commentary

Cordato On Bathrooms And State

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

The saga of the so-called Charlotte bathroom ordinance -- and the state of North Carolina's response to it -- has taken on a life of its own. At the national level leftists are accusing North Carolina of bigotry while, in the name of tolerance, a growing list of performers and businesses are boycotting the state. 

Analysis and Commentary

Hooper And Henderson On Drug Prices

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

Patients are heavily insulated from the costs of their care partly because of long-term efforts by policymakers and advocates on the political left. The Affordable Care Act was a notable exception to this trend and, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, following the legislation's passage, patients' insurance deductibles have increased six times as fast as average wages.

Analysis and Commentary

Chrysler's Disgusting Ad

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 25, 2016

Last night, I saw one of the most disgusting ads I have ever seen on TV. 

Analysis and Commentary

Frequently Insightful But Often Misleading

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 23, 2016

That's the title of my review of Jonathan Kay's book Other People's Money. It appears in the latest issue of Regulation.

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