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

Getting Around Economic Sanctions In Sudan

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, July 20, 2017

When I started the Ph.D. economics program at UCLA in September 1972, one of the first things we graduate students heard that we should be doing different in our daily lives was to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. If I recall correctly, Ben Klein recommended it in a class he taught (that I wasn't taking at the time) and the recommendation filtered back to me.

Analysis and Commentary

De-Identifying Race And Ethnicity Reduces Bias

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What we found is that de-identifying applications at the shortlisting stage of recruitment does not appear to assist in promoting diversity in hiring.

Analysis and Commentary

Enough To Buy Back The Product

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I was on an email discussion this morning with some free-market economists and some economically literate fans of free markets.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Russia's Government Hostile?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, July 17, 2017

One of the things that I think affects people's view about the Trump administration vis a vis Russia is their view of Russia. In a recent article, my friend Steve Chapman, columnist at the Chicago Tribune, writes: If this was not collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, it was a conscious attempt at collusion with a hostile government on the part of the candidate's son. No wonder Donald Jr. lied about it until his emails were exposed.

Analysis and Commentary

Farrell And Teles On Nancy MacLean

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, July 14, 2017

A deep, historical study of public choice would be welcome, and Buchanan's role in the development of the thought and organizational infrastructure of the right has generally been overlooked. Unfortunately, the book [by Nancy MacLean] is an example of precisely the kind of work on the right that we do not need, and the intellectuals of the left who have praised it are doing their side no favors.

Analysis and Commentary

Amazon Prime's Contribution To Northern Canada

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, July 13, 2017

The consensus in Iqaluit seems to be that everyone with a credit card has an Amazon Prime membership. That's because people can often find groceries cheaper online than in local stores, despite government food subsidy programs.

Milton Friedman
Analysis and Commentary

Milton Friedman On Black Markets

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

In a June 8, 1947 NBC radio discussion titled "The Future of France," Alfred Cobban, visiting professor of political science at the University of Chicago, Milton Friedman, associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Louis Gottschalk, professor of modern history at the University of Chicago, carry on an extensive discussion of France, which was, at the time, facing the threat that Communists would be part of the government.

Analysis and Commentary

Friedman In 1946

by David R. Hendersonfeaturing Milton Friedmanvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mr. Schultz: Friedman, how do you summarize what we have said this afternoon? Mr. Friedman: Two very different kinds of techniques are available for lessening the income inequalities of the world. On the one hand, we can use direct techniques--the rich can share their wealth with the poor by gifts and grants and by freer migration. On the other hand, there are the indirect techniques of promoting freer international trade, export of capital, technology, and know-how.

Analysis and Commentary

Walter Block's Reductio Ad Absurdum

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, July 9, 2017

I was thinking of writing a post about the absurdity of the recent EU antitrust case against Google, but Walter Block beat me to it with a reductio ad absurdum.

Analysis and Commentary

Making Dental Care And Health Care Less Expensive

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, July 8, 2017

Take Maine state Rep. Richard Malaby (R-District 136), who sponsored a bill in 2014 to let mid-level dental professionals--known as dental therapists--provide additional care for the state's poor, rural areas. Though the bill eventually passed, the legislative battle was surprisingly brutal. 

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