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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A Carbon Tax Is Not A Slam Dunk

by David R. Henderson mentioning John H. Cochrane, George P. Shultzvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On Pigou, Pinatubo, cow farts and geo-engineering

Analysis and Commentary

Keynes' Understated Criticism Of FDR's New Deal

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 18, 2019

One main component of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which cartelized hundreds of American industries. If FDR’s goal was, as the name of the act implies, to help industries recovered from the depth of the what would later be known as the Great Depression, the NIRA never made sense. When you cartelize an industry, you cut output and raise prices. With output being so low, you make the situation worse, not better.

Analysis and Commentary

Bernie Sanders Didn't Say It

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, August 18, 2019

When I wrote a review of the excellent Socialism Sucks by Bob Lawson and Ben Powell, I quoted a passage from it that they attributed to Bernie Sanders. It did sound extreme, even for Bernie, and I should have checked.

Analysis and Commentary

Great Moments In Price Discrimination

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, August 17, 2019

Below is a quote from a news item in the Washington Post by Casey Quackenbush, August 15, 2019. It’s titled “A Run on Gas Masks: Hong Kong protestors circumvent crackdown on protective gear” and is quoted in Liz Wolfe, “Hong Kong’s Market Is Providing Gas Masks and Protective Gear Despite Government Crackdown,” Reason.com, August 16, 2019.

Analysis and Commentary

The New York Times Is Truly Messed Up

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 16, 2019

Although rightly rejected today, the Virginia-born Fitzhugh attained national prominence in the late antebellum period as one of the most widely read defenders of a slave-based economy. Charles Sumner called him a “leading writer among Slave-masters,” and his regular contributions to the pro-South magazine DeBow’s Review gained him a national readership in the 1850s.

Analysis and Commentary

A Day That Should Live In Infamy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, August 15, 2019

August 15, 2019 is the 48th anniversary of President Nixon’s announcement of a 90-day freeze on all wages and prices. What followed after 90 days were various phases that caused the controls to last into 1974. The worst effects of the price controls were in the oil and gasoline markets, where OPEC’s price increase in the fall of 1973, combined with binding price controls, led to shortages, lineups, rationing, occasional violence in lines, and, arguably, President Carter’s Rapid Deployment Force, which was later changed into U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM.) So August 15, 1971 is a day that should live in infamy.

Analysis and Commentary

Soldiers As Price Takers

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

There didn’t seem to be much sense to getting killed. The war went on at its own slow, deliberate pace, and if he got himself killed it would make no difference one way or another to anyone but himself, and to his family, perhaps. Whether he was dead or not, at exactly the same moment of the twentieth century the armies would move, the machines in which the real fighting finally took place would destroy each other, the surrender would be signed . . . Survive, he remembered desperately from the lumber file, survive, survive . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Reinhardt's Misleading Data On Drug Price Differences

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 12, 2019

Timothy Taylor, the Conversable Economist, posted today on some highlights from the late Uwe Reinhardt’s last book, Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care. He, following the lead of the Milken Institute Review in its excerpt of the book, shows charts comparing the cost of various health care goods and services in the United States to the cost in other countries.

Analysis and Commentary

Some Slight Freedom Of Speech In Canada

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, August 9, 2019

Last month, I spent about 18 days at my cottage in Canada. I have a few friends there who smoke cigarettes and over the last few years I’ve brought back empty cigarette packages with the plan to post about them on EconLog. I’ve never got around to it until now.

Analysis and Commentary

Casey Mulligan On Trump Versus Reagan On Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, August 8, 2019

This is the humorous part of a serious analysis by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, who just finished a one-year stint as chief economist with President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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