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

Is Donald Trump A Crony Capitalist?

by David R. Hendersonvia Reason.com
Thursday, February 9, 2017

On February 10, 2016, the Indiana-based furnace company Carrier announced that it would close two factories in the US—one in Indianapolis and one in Huntington—and shift production to Mexico. Just three days later, presidential longshot Donald Trump bragged on Twitter: "I am the only one who can fix this. On November 29, Carrier announced that it had reached an agreement with President-elect Trump to keep about 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis. His behavior in the Carrier case looks more like President John F. Kennedy's treatment of US Steel in the early 1960s and President Barack Obama's treatment of General Motors and Chrysler bondholders in 2009. And it has disturbing implications both for our economic well-being and for our freedom.

Analysis and Commentary

How NAFTA Facilitates Supply Chains

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

When I teach about gains from trade, I start with two people and two goods on a desert island and work from there. Then I graduate to multiple people and multiple goods in two cities, then states, and, finally countries. I point out that the fact of borders does not change the fact that both sides gain from trade and that trade facilitates an incredibly extensive division of labor.

Analysis and Commentary

TANSTAAFL

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pardon the grammar. The correct grammar is: TINSTAAFL: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Don Boudreaux has an excellent post this morning in which he takes on a post at the American Enterprise Institute about mandated paid parental leave.

Analysis and Commentary

Hans Rosling RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hans Rosling died today of pancreatic cancer. What a loss!

Analysis and Commentary

Hooper On Henry George On Protection Or Free Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 6, 2017

Protection or Free Trade is two books in one. The first part is a thorough dismantling of protectionist arguments and a defense of free markets, free trade, capitalism, specialization, economic progress, and freedom in general. 

Analysis and Commentary

Politics Is Not Usually About Policy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 3, 2017

Why you probably shouldn't pay attention to Milo Yiannopoulos.

Analysis and Commentary

Cotton From Teksa

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 2, 2017

In preparing my OLLI talk on free trade that I discussed yesterday, I read large parts of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli. It's very good. Rivoli, a professor at Georgetown University, does what the title implies: traces all of the steps in the production process that lead to a delivered T-shirt at a low price. 

Analysis and Commentary

Speaking At Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bottom line: If you get asked to make a proposal to speak at OLLI, say yes.

Analysis and Commentary

The Pros And Cons Of The TPP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This is from my article "All things considered, TPP would've been a plus for US economy," The Hill, January 30, 2017.

Analysis and Commentary

All Things Considered, TPP Would've Been A Plus For US Economy

by David R. Hendersonvia The Hill
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

President Harry Truman once famously said, "Give me a one-handed economist." He was tired of hearing economists say, "On the one hand 'this', but on the other hand 'that.'"

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