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

Pseudo-Competition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, October 26, 2009

The congressional leadership has been very vocal lately about the need for competition in health insurance...

Analysis and Commentary

Tyler’s Triple on Health Care

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hey, it’s baseball playoff time and the article is in the New York Times and so of course I'm going to use a baseball metaphor...

Analysis and Commentary

Anderson on Enron

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, October 23, 2009

One of the views I had accepted uncritically is that all of the people at Enron charged with crimes really were guilty...

Analysis and Commentary

SuperFreakonomics, II

by David R. Hendersonwith Gary S. Beckervia EconLog
Friday, October 23, 2009

As I work my way through SuperFreakonomics, I'm starting to take back my claim that it's better than Freakonomics...

Analysis and Commentary

Super Freakonomics

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm only 27 pages into Levitt's and Dubner's new book, but already I'm liking Super Freakonomics better than Freakonomics...

Analysis and Commentary

Great Moments in Health Economics

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, October 18, 2009

From President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, "The Economic Case for Health Reform," June 2009:...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's CEA on Adverse Selection

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back in July, Bryan had an excellent post on adverse selection, pointing out that the textbook idea that adverse selection is an important problem in insurance is simply wrong...

Analysis and Commentary

Mad About Trade, II

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Further highlights from Daniel Griswold's new book, Mad About Trade, which I first blogged about here...

Analysis and Commentary

Are Taxes “Passed On”?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In arguing with the recent study done by Price Waterhouse Coopers for the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the White House bloggers say the following:...

Analysis and Commentary

A Nobel for Practical Economics

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, October 12, 2009

Yesterday's award of the Nobel Prize in economics to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson at first struck me as a good choice. Now I think it's a great choice...

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