David R. Henderson

Research Fellow

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

President Trump's Tragic Sunk Cost Fallacy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In his recent speech in which he threw out his earlier idea of ending the war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump stated: First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.

Analysis and Commentary

Prices And Your Pocketbook

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 20, 2017

This is another in the series of NBC radio broadcasts that involved Milton Friedman as one of the three panelists. 

Analysis and Commentary

Worstall On Robots And Jobs

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tim Worstall, referring to my article that I posted on yesterday, makes an important point I should have made.

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Will Robots Steal Human Jobs?

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, August 17, 2017

People fear automation, but better technology has historically given rise to more opportunities for work. 

Analysis and Commentary

Hummel On The Curse Of Cash

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In "Anti-Paper Prophet: Comments on The Curse of Cash." Jeff Hummel has written an excellent response to Ken Rogoff's response to Hummel's review of his book The Curse of Cash. The whole thing is well worth reading. Here are the parts I found most striking.

Analysis and Commentary

The Ethics Of Charles Koch

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charles [Koch] is a true believer, whose free-market beliefs are unquestionably self-interested--but also undeniably sincere. His value system is apparent in all aspects of his company, including Koch's lobbying operation. Until the early 1990s, the company didn't have a Washington presence; this, one former Koch lobbyist said, reflected Charles's inherent distrust of politicians and his anti-government bent. 

Charles Koch
Analysis and Commentary

Sons Of Wichita

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 14, 2017

On my vacation, which is coming to an end, the first book I read was Daniel Schulman's Sons of Wichita. It's subtitled "How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty." Written by an editor of Mother JonesSons of Wichita is, in my semi-informed opinion, largely fair.

Analysis and Commentary

Hooper's Law Of Drug Development

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 7, 2017

Moore's Law is optimistic and reflects the ability of humans to "chip" away at a problem, making sequential, cumulative advances. Much of technology fits this pattern. One glaring exception, tragically, is the drug development conducted by pharmaceutical companies.

Analysis and Commentary

Good News On Employment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight writes: Prime-age employment rate hits 78.7%, highest since September 2008.

Analysis and Commentary

Markets For Everything, Minaki Edition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 4, 2017

View a photo of a live bait vending machine at a marina near my cottage at Minaki.