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

AARP On Drug Prices

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 29, 2017

A few years ago I finally succumbed and became a member of the AARP. My reason is that it gave me a substantial discount on my eye glasses, a discount that more than paid for the annual fee. As a result I get the AARP Bulletin and occasionally read it.

Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression.
Analysis and Commentary

Tabarrok On The Great Depression

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Alex Tabarrok narrates a very good video on the Great Depression. It's called "Understanding the Great Depression." In it, he applies an aggregate demand/aggregate supply framework and puts most of what happened in that framework. I have two criticisms, but they shouldn't be interpreted to mean that the video is weak: it's quite good.

Analysis and Commentary

Larry Summers Trumps Trump

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On agriculture, China reiterated a promise that it has broken in the past to let in more beef. Previously, we, as reciprocity, had been withholding publication of a permissive rule on Chinese poultry, but we have now relented. Advantage China.

Analysis and Commentary

Solar Power: Lots Of Jobs Per KWH Is Bad, Not Good

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 22, 2017

Creating jobs is not the same as creating wealth.

Analysis and Commentary

Nowrasteh On E-Verify

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 18, 2017

I asked Alex Nowrasteh for his input on the E-Verify issue that I posted about yesterday. Here's what he wrote: E-Verify won't work because employers ignore it in states where it is required with virtually zero legal consequences.

Analysis and Commentary

E-Verify: Let's Make Us More Like Europe

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One of the main things the United States has going for it is its relatively fluid labor market, relative, at least, to labor markets in much of Europe.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Mankiw's $2.10 Optimal Gas Tax Correct?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In Sunday's post, I noted an important deficiency in Greg Mankiw's treatment of negative externalities and stated that this matters for his treatment of gasoline taxes. Here's why.

Analysis and Commentary

Greg Mankiw's Deficient Treatment Of Negative Externalities

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 14, 2017

I was teaching my class Friday on the economics of externalities. I'm using the 5th edition of Greg Mankiw's Principles of Economics. Why the 5th edition? To save my students over $100 a pop. Textbooks rarely get much better after a few editions.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Do College Admissions Offices Value Volunteer Work?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 12, 2017

Mark Barbieri, a regular reader of this blog, asked the following question and gave me permission to use his name.

Analysis and Commentary

Government Spending In Canada

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada has published a short but illuminating study of federal government spending for the last 150 years. 

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