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

Update On FIRE

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 8, 2017

Last week, I defended the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) from Scott Alexander's charge that it is "all about the right seeking greater fairness in mainstream institutions."

Analysis and Commentary

Incentives Work In The NBA Too

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 5, 2017

Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg objected to how Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics regularly carries the ball and gets away with it. Check out from about 2:40 on in this video.

Analysis and Commentary

Carl F. Christ, RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 4, 2017

On April 21, economist and econometrician Carl F. Christ died at age 93. He had a good run.

Analysis and Commentary

Russ Roberts's Wonderful Loaf

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"The farmer who grows the wheat, the miller that grinds the flour. The baker and all the others who work hour after hour." This is an excerpt from Russ Roberts's poem "It's a Wonderful Loaf."

Analysis and Commentary

In Defense Of FIRE

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Scott Alexander writes: This is a bizarre claim, given the existence of groups like Accuracy In Media, Media Research Center, Newsbusters, Foundation For Individual Rights In Education, Heterodox Academy, et cetera which are all about the right seeking greater fairness in mainstream institutions, some of which are almost fifty years old.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Predatory Pricing Is Highly Unlikely

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 1, 2017

A widely held belief is that large firms with some market power can use their profits generated in particular markets to cut prices below costs in another market and drive out their competitors. Then, according to this belief, once the competitors are driven out, the large firms can raise their prices in that market and collect higher-than-competitive prices.

Analysis and Commentary

Pope Francis's Distorted Vision

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 29, 2017

"I cannot fail to speak of the grave risks associated with the invasion of the positions of libertarian individualism at high strata of culture and in school and university education," the Pope said in an message sent to members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences meeting in the Vatican and subsequently shared with Breitbart News.

Analysis and Commentary

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In a comment on a recent blog post I wrote on United Airlines, The Original CC highlighted one of my sentences and wrote: You seem to be the master of deescalation. Can you explain this interaction and what you said in a little more detail? We could probably all learn from it.

Analysis and Commentary

Reply To Adam Ozimek

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adam Ozimek has written an article on Forbes.com titled "Libertarianism Needs To Become More Realistic." HT to Tyler Cowen. Although authors rarely get to choose their articles' titles, the title does seem consistent with his message. Ozimek is friendly to libertarianism, and so his suggestions should be seen as friendly amendments to the strategies pursued by some libertarians.

Analysis and Commentary

Score One For United Airlines

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 24, 2017

With all the negative publicity United Airlines has had lately, I want to share a positive. Yesterday morning, I was flying from Washington Dulles to LAX, with a short time for my connecting flight from LAX to Monterey. We boarded late because one of the runways at LAX was closed for construction and the LAX air traffic controllers were rationing landings. 

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