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

The Power Of The Median Voter Theorem

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

Political commentator Michael Barone writes: So despite California Democrats' hopes that an early presidential primary date will give the state greater influence in selecting a Democratic nominee, past history suggests that that's not likely -- and that there's a risk that California, newly installed at the left extreme of the political spectrum, will tilt the process toward an unelectable left-wing nominee.

Analysis and Commentary

What A Wonderful World

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

"In the time that it takes you to read the first chapter, over 2,000 people will have escaped poverty." So says a blurb on the back cover of Johan Norberg's book Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future (London: Oneworld, 2016). The book lives up to the hype.

In the News

My Retirement

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 29, 2017

Today is my last official day at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey. After today, I will be an emeritus professor, with all the rights pertaining thereto. That means mainly I get to use the library, which, by the way, is very valuable.

Analysis and Commentary

Raj Chetty's Non Sequitur

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty, who studies income inequality, has put out on the web a rich array of PowerPoints and videos as part of his Equality of Opportunity project. I haven't looked at them all yet--the sheer number of PowerPoints and videos is daunting.

Analysis and Commentary

DeLong On Scott's Seeing Like A State

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I was talking to an economist friend today about Berkeley economist Brad DeLong and I told him that my two favorite DeLong pieces are his "Cornucopia," which I have blogged about, and his review of James Scott's Seeing Like a State. My friend hadn't heard of the latter.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Rothstein's The Color Of Law

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, September 25, 2017

"We have created a caste system in this country, with African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies." So writes Richard Rothstein in The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. That's a strong statement. But Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, provides much support for his claim.

Lincoln Memorial
Analysis and Commentary

Abraham Lincoln On The Theory Of Public Choice

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, September 24, 2017

We then, do not say, nor need we say, to maintain our proposition, that Bank officers are more honest than Government officers, selected by the same rule. What we do say is that the interest of the Sub-Treasurer is against his duty--while the interest of the Bank is on the side of its duty.

Analysis and Commentary

Cold James Buchanan

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 22, 2017

I'm about 60 percent of the way through Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains, a book that many critics have commented on.

Analysis and Commentary

Feldstein's Insight On Standards Of Living

by David R. Hendersonfeaturing Martin Feldsteinvia EconLog
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In a recent op/ed in the Wall Street Journal, my former boss at the Council of Economic Advisers and Harvard economist Martin Feldstein points out that the data on real incomes in the United States systematically understate its growth. The article is titled "We're Richer Than We Realize," WSJ, September 8 (September 9-10 in the print edition.)

Oil Drilling
Analysis and Commentary

My 1983 Response To Koch Lobbying On Oil

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In preparation for my imminent retirement, I've been going through files and files, throwing things out but keeping things too.