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

Gruber On Romney And Obama

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 9, 2017

I found this 33-minute PBS interview of Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of both Romneycare in Massachusetts and Obamacare for the United States, interesting.

Analysis and Commentary

McArdle Advocates Paternalism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 7, 2017

And it's expensive paternalism.

Analysis and Commentary

Stigler On Shaw On Income Equality

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 6, 2017

I enjoyed rereading George Stigler's 1959 piece "Shaw, Webb, and Fabian Socialism," which I posted about earlier.

Analysis and Commentary

What's Wrong With Trade Restrictions In One Graph

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 5, 2017

Timothy Taylor, at the Conversable Economist, has an awesome graph and an excellent discussion of trade in the modern world.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Security: Government Or Private

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump is breaking with tradition yet again, this time by retaining his own private security force.

Dave Barry Highlights

by David R. Henderson
Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Meanwhile, newly released State Department emails cause some people to suggest that the reason a variety of dodgy foreign businesspeople and nations gave millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state was that they expected to receive special access to or favors from the U.S. government.

Analysis and Commentary

The Noise-To-Signal Ratio As A Metaphor For Deadweight Loss From Taxes

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 2, 2017

The NSR, which many people understand more intuitively from physics, sheds light on the DWL in economics. 

Analysis and Commentary

Stigler On Shaw On Marx

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, January 1, 2017

George Bernard Shaw finds one of two crucial mistakes in Karl Marx; George Stigler finds the other.

Scott Alexander Calls Out The New York Times

by David R. Henderson
Friday, December 30, 2016

Normally, Scott Alexander writes very long posts. This one is very short and well worth reading.

Analysis and Commentary

Alan Blinder's Bad Article

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 30, 2016

Princeton economist Alan Blinder, who has often written very good work--I'm a fan, with qualifications, of his book Hard Heads, Soft Hearts and he has two excellent entries in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics--has written a bad article.

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