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

Alice Rivlin Reminiscences

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 19, 2019

I discussed the late Alice Rivlin here and here. Here are one personal reminiscence about Alice Rivlin and one thought about a 1993 or 1994 Wall Street Journal op/ed she wrote.

Analysis and Commentary

Alice Rivlin Continued

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, May 18, 2019

Yesterday, I posted some highlights from a 2002 interview with Alice Rivlin. Here are more highlights from that interview.

Analysis and Commentary

Alice Rivlin RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 17, 2019

Economist Alice Rivlin died Tuesday at age 88. She was my favorite liberal (in the modern, not classical, sense) economist. She called it the way she saw it and was generally regarded by all sides as independent. That sometimes got her in hot water with her fellow Democrats.

Analysis and Commentary

Coming Airline Competition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 16, 2019

An invaluable source of information on transportation is Reason Foundation analyst Robert Poole. In his latest post, dated May 13, Bob Poole writes: The ULCCs [ultra low cost carriers] continue to grow and are among the world’s most profitable airlines.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Fellows With Friedman

featuring John H. Cochrane , Michael J. Boskin, David R. Henderson, Thomas Sowell, Richard A. Epstein, Alvin Rabushka, Robert E. Hallvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a Wall Street Journalop-ed, “America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax,” John Cochrane proposes a new kind of tax that caps the amount that people would pay in taxes to prevent indefinite tax-rate hikes. He asks, “How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue—when government takes 50% of people's income? 60%? 70%?” If there is a maximum amount that an individual pays, then once past that cap they wouldn’t pay any further federal income tax for that year.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured

A Progressive Plan That Aids Loan Sharks

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Capping interest rates on credit cards will hurt the poor most

Analysis and Commentary

Sanders And AOC's Elitist Credit Card Caps

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have announced plans to introduce legislation that would limit the interest rate that credit card companies are allowed to charge customers. Although there is currently no federal limit, some state governments have limits. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez propose capping the annual rate of interest on credit card debt at 15 percent.

Analysis and Commentary

SEC Privilege

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Russ Hooper, a young econ major who was one of my best research assistants, wrote me the following, with permission to quote: Impossible Foods makes Impossible Burgers, which are vegan burgers that look, taste, and feel like beef burgers. I’m a huge fan of beef burgers, and yet I prefer these. I’m not alone: they’ve been such a hit that Impossible Foods is struggling to meet demand.

Analysis and Commentary

Helicopters Over Manhattan

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 13, 2019

Helicopters have been whisking the wealthy from Manhattan to New York’s airports for decades. Now the ride costs as little as $195, and you can book it via a smartphone. Back in 2014, when Rob Wiesenthal founded Blade Urban Air Mobility Inc., a chopper ride to John F. Kennedy Airport—13 miles from Manhattan—started at $3,000, he says. Wiesenthal has been able to chop that price after finding efficiencies in fueling, equipment, and scheduling.

Analysis and Commentary

Regulatory Reset In Idaho

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, May 11, 2019

My friend and former student Paul Gerner suggested to me a few years ago that the federal government have a “regulatory reset.” The idea is that the government eliminates all regulations and then brings back the one it decides it wants. Presumably we would end up with substantially fewer regulations.

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