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

Lemieux On Antidumping And Countervailing Duties

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, September 4, 2017

On April 27, 2017, Boeing petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose antidumping and countervailing duties for a total of "at least" 159.91% on Bombardier's C Series commercial jets. Antidumping duties are supposed to compensate for the sale of an imported good at a price lower than its normal price or "normal value."

Communism Symbol
Analysis and Commentary

Gary North On Domestic Communism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 1, 2017

In retrospect, it is difficult to believe that Congress bothered to come to Hollywood to investigate Communist infiltration, other than for publicity. The movies that Hollywood cranked out from 1934 to 1959 were patriotic. They were socially conservative to a fault: twin beds for married couples. They were politically non-controversial. I think of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Analysis and Commentary

Paul Pillar On Iranian Sanctions

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The sanctions that the United States has piled on Iran for years have become so extensive and complex, and the penalties for violation so severe, that many American companies have erred on the side of caution by forgoing business opportunities...

Analysis and Commentary

Larry White On The Origin Of Money

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 28, 2017

This Cartalist account fails to explain, however, why governments chose bits of gold or silver as the material for these tokens, rather than something cheaper, say bits of iron or copper or paper impressed with sovereign emblems. In the market-evolutionary account, preciousness is advantageous in a medium of exchange by lowering the costs of transporting any given value. 

Analysis and Commentary

Social Security Sonya From Seattle

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 28, 2017

Regular readers of my posts know that I sometimes highlight the bad or inefficient behavior of government officials and the good or efficient behavior of private for-profit actors. I don't cherry pick. I report what I see. So, for example, I recently wrote about bad behavior from Verizon, but then also wrote about Verizon's fixing the problem. (A number of commenters pointed out, probably correctly, that I got Verizon on the problem so quickly because EconLog is such a prominent, well-known blog.)

Analysis and Commentary

Male Privilege Versus Rawls' Veil Of Ignorance

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 26, 2017

On Facebook this morning, economics Ph.D. student Garrett Malcolm Petersen, aka The Economics Detective, asked the following: Has anyone else noticed the contradiction between Rawls' veil of ignorance argument against inequality and the concept of male privilege?

Football in motion over grass
Analysis and Commentary

LeSean McCoy's Beautiful Marginalist Insight

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 25, 2017

"As a team, trying to win and not have a distraction on the team, I just take that as a player -- there's certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there's other players that it's not good enough or not worth it. I think his situation is not good enough to have him [Colin Kaepernick] on the team with all the attention that comes along with it. I'm sure if a guy like [Tom] Brady or a guy like whoever is your favorite player -- Odell Beckham or a guy like that -- you'll deal with that attention and play him," said the Buffalo Bill.

Analysis and Commentary

Does Libertarianism Reject Anti-Semitism?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 25, 2017

Economist Steve Horwitz has just published an article titled "Libertarianism Rejects Anti-Semitism." I disagree with his argument and the title.

President Trump's Tragic Sunk Cost Fallacy

by David R. Henderson
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In his recent speech in which he threw out his earlier idea of ending the war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump stated: First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.

Analysis and Commentary

President Trump's Tragic Sunk Cost Fallacy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In his recent speech in which he threw out his earlier idea of ending the war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump stated: First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.

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