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

Criticism Doesn't Violate The First Amendment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Over at Hit and Run, Reason's blog, Robby Soave, whose work I normally like a lot, laid an egg. His post is titled "The Real Boobs Are People Who Think ESPN Must Fire Jemele Hill."

Analysis and Commentary

A Poll Of Economists On Price Gouging

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 15, 2017

In May 2012, the IGM Forum, based at the University of Chicago Booth School, did a poll of economists on a proposed anti-price-gouging law in Connecticut. The economists polled were on the IGM's panel of "experts." To clarify, the vast majority of economists on the panel are experts in their own field. Their knowledge of items outside their field, as much of the polling data on many other issues show, ranges from very good down to sketchy.

Analysis and Commentary

Report From Naples

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Former star student Thomas Strenge wrote me an interesting email and gave me permission to quote. What follows below is my slightly edited version of what he wrote.

Analysis and Commentary

Core Concepts

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

One of my former students, a student who performed very well in my class and has kept in touch on economic issues, sent me a link to John Cassidy, "A New Way to Learn Economics," New Yorker, September 11, 2017.

Analysis and Commentary

My Pre 9/11 Column

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, September 11, 2017

Various authors have posted what they wrote in the hours and days after that horrible morning of September 11, 2001. I've decided to post the last part of a column I wrote for Red Herring that was published on November 1, 1999.

Analysis and Commentary

Law Professor Glenn Reynolds Doesn't Understand U.S. Law

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Byron York, in "Crime and immigration: What's in the Dream Act," Washington Examiner, September 7, writes: Commentary on the DACA controversy frequently notes that the nation's nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers are a law-abiding group. But a new bill to give DACA recipients full legal status would allow newly legalized Dreamers to have many run-ins with the law -- arrests, charges, convictions -- and still receive benefits.

Analysis and Commentary

In Defense Of Dudley

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, September 9, 2017

A libertarian friend on Facebook linked to a two-minute interview of William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and claimed that Dudley was subscribing to Frederic Bastiat's famous broken window fallacy.

Analysis and Commentary

Rugged Communitarians

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 7, 2017

This culture really shines through during events like Hurricane Harvey. Despite what the narrative spinners would have you believe, we are not rugged individualists; we are rugged communitarians.

Analysis and Commentary

California Is Broke(n)

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A resident of my city of Pacific Grove recently did a huge service on Facebook by linking to a site that gives pay and pensions for state and local government workers. It's breathtaking.

Analysis and Commentary

Thaler On Price Gouging

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In a segment on the economics of price gouging on NPR last Friday [it starts at about the 11:40 point], my former University of Rochester colleague Richard Thaler points out that merchants who price gouge create ill will among their regular customers that will come back to bite them later. He's right. In response, Don Boudreaux lays out clearly both the fact that Thaler is right and, more important, the fact that this does not undercut the case for allowing price gouging.

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