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

Peter Berger's Historical Perspective

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, March 17, 2019

I’m going through various books in my library, trying to decide which ones to give to friends, which to donate, and which to discard. I almost offered to give sociologist Peter L. Berger’s 1986 book, The Capitalist Revolution, to a friend but, before doing so, reread sections I had marked up. I’m keeping it.

Analysis and Commentary

Chicago's Lesser-Known Free Marketeer

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, March 15, 2019
I’m now free to post my tribute to Harold Demsetz, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on January 13 (January 14 print edition.) It was titled “Chicago’s Lesser-Known Free Marketeer.”
Analysis and Commentary

David Frum Accidentally Makes The Case For More Immigration

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My fellow immigrant from Canada, David Frum, has a long article in The Atlantic in which he argues for cutting legal immigration in half. The whole piece, titled “If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will,” is worth reading, partly because he makes a serious case for reducing immigration and partly because, along the way, he presents a number of facts about immigration that both critics and advocates of more immigration should be aware of. 

Analysis and Commentary

Mankiw On Publishing Textbooks

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, March 11, 2019

Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw, who has become a multi-millionaire by writing and honing his very successful economics textbooks, has written a thoughtful article titled “Reflections of a Textbook Author.” 

Analysis and Commentary

Jacob Vigdor On Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage

by David R. Hendersonvia The Library of Economics and Liberty
Monday, March 11, 2019
In the latest EconTalk, both host Russ Roberts and economist interviewee Jacob Vigdor do a great job of discussing Vigdor’s and his colleagues’ 2016 study of Seattle’s large increase in the minimum wage. Russ asks pretty much all the right questions at all the right points. I highly recommend it.
Analysis and Commentary

Gail Heriot

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, March 8, 2019

I read about 20 to 25 web sites a day and one I look at regularly is Instapundit. For those who don’t know, it was started by University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds some years ago and the title is descriptive. He and his co-bloggers post almost 100 entries a day and it is “Insta.” That is, a lot of the posts are simply links with one-line descriptions or brief additions. Occasionally, though, the posts are longer.

Analysis and Commentary

The Law Of Demand Strikes Again

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, March 7, 2019

The attraction then, as now, was the Columbia River, which we can glimpse a few blocks to our left. Bitcoin mining—the complex process in which computers solve a complicated math puzzle to win a stack of virtual currency—uses an inordinate amount of electricity, and thanks to five hydroelectric dams that straddle this stretch of the river, about three hours east of Seattle, miners could buy that power more cheaply here than anywhere else in the nation.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson Versus Kristol On Iraq War In 2002

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

CONAN: David Henderson, are the realpolitik people of the world, the Henry Kissinger wing, if you will, of the Republican Party–first time I’ve ever said that, the first time anybody may have ever said that–are those the only people objecting to this policy?

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The Case For More Immigration

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A discussion on immigration. 

Henderson Versus Kristol On Iraq War In 2002

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

In August 2002 Neal Conan on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” interviewed Bill Kristol and me on the Iraq war. I was against; Kristol was in favor. This is the short piece for Hoover that led NPR to contact me and argue with Kristol.

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