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

The Assault On Wealth

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, December 5, 2019

As noted above, I don’t accept that behind every fortune, or even most fortunes, is a great crime. Interestingly also, neither does the main economist who got the ball rolling on wealth taxes earlier this decade. The economist who, more than any other, made attacks on the wealthy more generally respected, is Frenchman Thomas Piketty. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)FeaturedEconomy

The Assault On Wealth

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A tax on the very rich is a very bad idea

Analysis and Commentary

Priors And Prejudice

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

When I was in twelfth grade (in Canada, we called it Grade 12), one of the main novels we studied was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I read it once because I was supposed to, twice to be able to answer questions on exams, and the third time because I loved it.

Analysis and Commentary

Nasty, Brutish, And Long

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 2, 2019

The picture above is of Bob Tollison. Steve Landsburg, true to form, has a provocative post in which he wonders if the increase in opioid deaths could be a good sign–a sign that people are celebrating their lives by using opioids. That’s not a hill I’m willing to die on–the argument or the opioids–but it’s an interesting point nevertheless.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson And Hooper On Why Some Drug Prices Are Too Low

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, December 1, 2019

When Americans talk about drug prices, the conversation is dominated by the eye-popping sticker prices of certain new drugs. We’re all aware of how sky-high prices can make it hard for some patients to afford the drugs they need. Yet few appreciate how patients also lose access to treatments when prices are too low.

Analysis and CommentaryEconomy

Highlights From "The Case For Free Trade"

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Earlier this month, I gave a talk at Boise State University titled “The Case for Free Trade.” Here’s the video and what follows are the highlights, with the approximate time at which they occurred.

Analysis and Commentary

Some Pre-Thanksgiving Good News

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I’ve noticed a few encouraging developments in the last few days that don’t merit their own blog post but do merit items in an overall post.

Analysis and Commentary

How Much Do The Chinese Fail To Comply With WTO?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My biggest surprise in my economics reading last week.

Analysis and Commentary

Fooled By Algebra

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, November 25, 2019

The late great Armen Alchian taught me that you can be rigorous with words. As a math major, I needed to hear that. Last week, I forgot that. I let algebra distort my thinking.

Analysis and Commentary

Responses To Comments On My Review Of Open Borders

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, November 24, 2019

There were a number of interesting comments on my post in which I highlighted my review of co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s book Open Borders. Because few people read comments but I thought some of the comments worth responding to, I’m doing so here.

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