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

James Kwak On Minimum Wage

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 28, 2017

On my to-do list for the last week or so has been to write a detailed response to University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak's claim that many economists and others have misleadingly and simplistically applied basic Econ 101 analysis to conclude that an increase in the minimum wage will cost jobs.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Toothless Pipeline Protectionism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 27, 2017

Tom DiChristopher of CNBC called me yesterday to get my take on Donald Trump's attempt to make builders of the Keystone pipeline use American-made pipe. The result is this excellent report by him, in which he quotes me accurately and also quotes Cato Institute trade scholar Dan Ikenson.

Analysis and Commentary

Ending The Requirement To Show Drug Efficacy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In my January 14 post, "Why Are Drug Prices So High?", I referenced Charley Hooper's and my proposal that Congress go back to pre-1962 law and have the FDA be a certifier of only safety, not efficacy. In the longer piece that I linked to, we also suggested having drugs automatically legal in the United States if they are approved by a similar regulatory agency in any of a few developed countries.

Analysis and Commentary

Ominous Inaugural Addresses

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Donald Trump delivered what historians and speechwriters said was one of the most ominous inaugural addresses ever, reinforcing familiar campaign themes of American decline while positioning himself as the protector of the country's "forgotten men and women."

Analysis and Commentary

The Economics Of The Affordable Car Insurance Act

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"The Affordable Car Insurance Act (ACIA), which President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal, was crafted to overcome two basic problems in the provision of car insurance in the United States. First, the costs are incredibly skewed, with just 10 percent of drivers accounting for almost two thirds of the nation's spending on cars that have been in accidents."

Analysis and Commentary

Williamson On Rogoff's Case Against Cash

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 16, 2017

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank Vice-President and economist Stephen D. Williamson has written a critical review of Kenneth Rogoff's The Curse of Cash. I use the word "critical" in the sense we academics use it: a balanced critique that looks at pluses and minuses.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Are Drug Prices So High?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 14, 2017

Economists have shown that the cost to get one drug to market successfully is now more than $2.8 billion. This cost has been growing at 7.5 percent per year, more than doubling every ten years. Most of this cost is due to FDA regulation.

Analysis and Commentary

Was USAID Behind Indian Government's War On Cash?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 12, 2017

On November 8, Indian prime minster Narendra Modi announced that the two largest denominations of banknotes could not be used for payments any more with almost immediate effect. Owners could only recoup their value by putting them into a bank account before the short grace period expired at year end, which many people and businesses did not manage to do, due to long lines in front of banks.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Trade Trifecta

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Well, it's now obvious that Canada has not dodged a bullet. One of President-elect Trump's most sincerely held views is that free trade is suspect. He buys into virtually every mercantilist myth, even claiming in a recent tweet, "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade."

Analysis and Commentary

Hugh Hewitt On The Interest Deduction

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, talk radio host Hugh Hewitt has an op/ed titled "Policy Purity is Bad Politics." In it, he argues against capping the mortgage interest deduction.

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