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

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita On War And Presidential Success

by David R. Hendersonfeaturing Bruce Bueno de Mesquitavia EconLog
Monday, December 26, 2016

Over at EconTalk, Russ Roberts has an interesting interview with political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on the incentives that U.S. presidents have had to get their country into war. It tracks a lot of the same territory that Zachary Gochenour and I covered in our "War and Presidential Greatness."

Analysis and Commentary

The Confusion About Inequality And Poverty

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 23, 2016

In an article titled "Why People Vote Against Their Own Interests," Forbes, November 8, Bruce Lee, an Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes: Voting seems pretty straightforward, right?

Analysis and Commentary

Finally Some Good News From Paul Krugman

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 23, 2016

Both his [Trump's] pick as budget director and his choice to head Health and Human Services want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and privatize Medicare. His choice as labor secretary is a fast-food tycoon who has been a vociferous opponent both of Obamacare and of minimum wage hikes.

Kellyanne Conway
Analysis and Commentary

Peter Robinson Interviews Kellyanne Conway

by David R. Hendersonfeaturing Peter M. Robinsonvia EconLog
Thursday, December 22, 2016

One of my biggest surprises of the 2016 political season was the election of Donald Trump and, relatedly, his winning in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Now my Hoover colleague Peter Robinson, host of "Uncommon Knowledge," has interviewed one of the main architects of that victory, Kellyanne Conway.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Oge's CAFE

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, December 18, 2016

In the next few years, companies that sell cars and light trucks in the United States will have to comply with increasingly stringent federal regulations on fuel economy. The government's regulations call for a required average of 54.5 miles per gallon on new cars and trucks by 2025. 

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Latest Love Canal Book

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, December 17, 2016

But the real story of Love Canal isn't the "corporate guys: bad; government guys and community activists: good" tale that many people believe. In its February 1981 issue, Reason magazine published an exhaustive, fact-filled, 13,000-word article on Love Canal written by independent investigative reporter Eric Zuesse.

Analysis and Commentary

Hooper And Henderson On Patrick Frank

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 16, 2016

Patrick Frank is a scientist at the Stanford Synchrotron radiation Lightsource (SSRL), part of the SLAC (formerly Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) national Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. The SSLR produces extremely bright x-rays as a way for researchers to study our world at the atomic and molecular level.

Analysis and Commentary

Free Trade For The Tillerson

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

With apologies to Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam. Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO whom Donald Trump has picked for Secretary of State, has made a lot of comments and taken a lot of positions in favor of free trade. That's not unusual for a Secretary of State.

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.