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

Private versus Government

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

In his textbook Public Finance, 7th edition, 2005, Princeton University emeritus professor of economics Harvey S. Rosen, discussing the idea that incentives to monitor are better in the private sector than in government, quotes Adam Smith‘s statement to that effect in The Wealth of Nations. He also gives a famous modern example. 

Analysis and Commentary

Serbians' Freedom to Choose

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Serbia has adopted an approval mechanism for vaccinations, giving citizens the option to choose which vaccine they want to get and in which location they want to get vaccinated.

Analysis and Commentary

L'Etat, C'est Ro

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Louis XIV, pictured above, the king of France from 1643 to 1715, famously said, “L’Etat, c’est Moi.” Thus the title of this post.

Analysis and Commentary

The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 22, 2021

In a comment on my blog post about the proposed $15 federal minimum wage, frequent (and careful) commenter KevinDC quotes my statement: Here’s what they found. The vast majority of studies, 79.3 percent, found that a higher minimum wage led to less employment.

Analysis and Commentary

Jeff Hummel on Classical Liberals and Libertarians

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 22, 2021

Economist and libertarian Jeff Hummel, pictured above, sent me the following and I think it’s worth sharing:

Analysis and Commentary

The Sunk Cost Lesson Stuck

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 21, 2021

On Friday, the president of the Naval Postgraduate School, Dr. Ann E. Rondeau, announced that Captain Raymond (“Pancho”) Barnes, Military Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Defense Management (the new name for the school I taught at before retiring in 2017) is leaving his position for a new Navy posting. I haven’t met him during his tour because the in-person part of the School is pretty skimpy and so my biweekly visits to my former colleagues haven’t happened for about a year. But I’ve often enjoyed his emails to the faculty, which include the emeritus faculty.

Analysis and Commentary

How the Feds Gave a Competitive Advantage to Conservative Radio

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 19, 2021

This point is obvious once you think about it. It’s basic economics. It’s just that I had never thought about it.

Analysis and Commentary

The Opportunity-Killing Minimum Wage

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlib
Friday, February 19, 2021

Among non-economists and politicians, the minimum wage is one of the most misunderstood issues in economic policy.

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The Opportunity-Killing Minimum Wage

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Politicians ignore the economic consensus: wage hikes cost many low-skilled workers not just their jobs but also their foothold in the workforce.

Analysis and Commentary

In Praise Of CVS

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlib
Thursday, February 18, 2021

As I mentioned in a recent post, Monterey County, where I live, is behind almost every other part of the country in achieving vaccinations. Enter CVS.

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