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

Joe Camel: Brought to You by the FTC

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Why didn't tobacco companies ever compete with one another to produce safer cigarettes? It turns out that many years ago they started to do just that--until the federal government stopped them. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson explains why Washington regulators are hazardous to your health.

Double Your Money Back

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David R. Henderson explains how to replace Social Security with personal retirement accounts--a step he believes would create vast new wealth for all Americans.

Four Facts

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

It takes just four simple facts to make the case for a flat tax. By Hoover fellow David R. Henderson.

A Thatcherite Plan for Latin America

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 30, 1997

After getting under way in the 1980s, the privatization movement in Latin America has stalled out. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson argues that it can still be jump-started-if Latin leaders do what Margaret did.

The Trouble Started with Honest Abe

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 30, 1997

Who was the father of big government? FDR? Not according to Hoover fellow David R. Henderson, who makes a case that the trouble started not with the New Deal but with the Civil War.

Why Social Security is a Raw Deal - Even for Old Folks

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 1997

For baby boomers, Social Security is a rip-off-that much is already well known. But Hoover fellow David R. Henderson argues that even old folks would have been better off without it.

The Squabble over the Minimum Wage

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

Why did so many economists back the hike in the minimum wage earlier this year? In part because of a study based on lousy data. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson explains.

Why Some Latin Countries Prosper and Others Don't

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

Why do some Latin countries grow more quickly than others? Argentina, for example, more quickly than Venezuela? Hoover fellow David R. Henderson suggests a one-word answer. Freedom.

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