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

Has Bush Heard Of Bastiat?

by David R. Hendersonvia Forbes
Monday, November 24, 2008

Unemployment benefits extension will extend unemployment...

Analysis and Commentary

The Employee Suppression Of Choice Act

by David R. Hendersonvia Forbes
Monday, November 3, 2008

Last Tuesday on Forbes.com, I compared the economic policy proposals of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama...

In the News

Are We Ailing from Too Much Deregulation?

by David R. Hendersonvia Cato Institute
Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Americans May be Losing Faith in Free Markets" reads the title of a July 16 "news analysis" by Los Angeles Times reporter Peter G. Gosselin...

Analysis and Commentary

McCain Vs. Obama: Economics

by David R. Hendersonvia Forbes
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Predicting and analyzing the economic policies of either a President McCain or a President Obama is difficult for two reasons...

Analysis and Commentary

Krugman Helped Us Understand Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced yesterday that the 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences is Paul Krugman...

Analysis and Commentary

An opposing view on Measure Z

by David R. Hendersonvia Monterey Herald
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Many of the people who say they hate taxes are advocating yet another tax on Monterey County residents...

Analysis and Commentary

Learning From The Prisoners

by David R. Hendersonvia Forbes
Friday, October 10, 2008

One idea that has swept economics in the last 20 years is game theory...

Analysis and Commentary

Bernanke's Hype

by David R. Hendersonwith Edward Paul Lazearvia Forbes
Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giving a great deal of discretionary power to one man, as the bailout bill does, is not generally a good idea. Under the bill, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would get to spend $250 billion, immediately if he wishes, and up to $700 billion, on buying unnamed financial assets...

In the News

Letter: Economists Of The World, Unite!

by David R. Hendersonvia New York Times
Thursday, September 25, 2008

This just in: To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:...

Analysis and Commentary

Blame Federal Gov't, Not The Fed, For Subprime Mortgage Problems

by David R. Hendersonvia Investor's Business Daily
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why do people judge the Federal Reserve, whether under Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke, to be a major cause of the subprime bust? ...

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