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

Ralph Raico, RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

David Gordon writes that Ralph Raico has died. Writes David: His intellectual brilliance was evident from an early age, and while still in high school, he attended Ludwig von Mises's seminar at New York University.

Analysis and Commentary

Pruitt’s The Right Choice For EPA: Opposing View

by David R. Hendersonvia USA Today
Monday, December 12, 2016

Oklahoma attorney general has shown that he takes the Constitution seriously.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Picks Versus Reagan's

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, December 11, 2016

As someone who has, to put it mildly, not been a fan of Donald Trump, I've been pleasantly surprised by many of his picks for cabinet positions. Looking at them, I conclude, at least for the present, that they are on average better than Ronald Reagan's picks.

Healthcare Costs
Analysis and Commentary

Want Cheaper Drugs? Increase Competition

by David R. Henderson, Charles L. Hoopervia Washington Post
Friday, December 9, 2016

Why are pharmaceutical prices so high while the prices of so many other items we buy are low and even falling? The difference is competition. Drug companies typically have a monopoly on the drugs they sell, and monopolists charge high prices. So to get lower drug prices, we need more competition.

Analysis and Commentary

How I Got Culture

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sarah Skwire recently wrote an article, "The Awesome Social Value of the Chiquita Banana Song," in which she actually made the Chiquita banana song fascinating.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Extending Hayek's Insight

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 5, 2016

Hayek's conclusion about the importance of local knowledge can be extended far beyond markets into many parts of our lives. In this essay, I summarize Hayek's argument and then apply it to some good things that happened on September 11, 2001, and to two cases after 9/11--the case of the "shoe bomber" and that of the "underpants bomber"--when airline passengers acted together to save themselves from terrorists.

In the News

Speech Tomorrow At San Jose State University

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Monday I will be speaking at San Jose State University, as part of SJSU's David S. Saurman Provocative Lecture Series.

Analysis and Commentary

Friday Night Video: Cuba, Sanctions, Biting Cats, And Trump

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 2, 2016

I was on RT, the Russian-government-funded news network, earlier this week, talking about various issues. My segment begins around the 15:00 point and goes to about 22:30.

Analysis and Commentary

Good News On Repealing Obamacare: The Woodwork Effect

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, December 1, 2016

Many people worry that if Obamacare were replaced in one fell swoop, almost all the people who enrolled in Medicaid due to the law would lose their health insurance. This worry is understandable. Nevertheless, it turns out to be unjustified. Many of the people who were enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Obamacare would lose their insurance.

Analysis and Commentary

In Praise Of Ineffective Politicians

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Twitter today is all heated up with justifiable upset about Donald Trump's latest anti-liberty proposal: a prison sentence and possibly loss of citizenship for someone who burns a flag. Other tweeters have pointed out that the prison sentence part of what he proposes is similar to the legal sanctions in a bill on flag burning that Senator Hillary Clinton co-sponsored: the Flag Protection Act of 2005.

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