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

McArdle Advocates 376,537.65% Marginal Tax Rate

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here's what Megan McArdle advocated today: eliminate the tax-deductibiity of health insurance benefits for people making more than $150K a year in household income, $100K for singles. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Gifts in Kind vs. Gifts in Money

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 18, 2010

A standard thing we teach our students is that it's more efficient to give money to people than to give stuff. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Hayek and Central Planning

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 15, 2010

As I've posted about earlier, to understand why socialism must fail, you need to understand Hayek's argument (which he drew from Ludwig von Mises and elaborated on) that the information that's most valuable is information held in the hands of millions of individual actors. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Go Quietly, Old People

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 14, 2010

My review of bio-ethicist Daniel Callahan's new book, Taming the Beloved Beast: How Medical Technology Costs Are Destroying Our Health Care System, was posted on-line yesterday. . . .

We’re Not All Dismal

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some economists can’t see mankind for the math. The latest Nobel Prize went to two who focus on how humans actually behave. By David R. Henderson.

Analysis and Commentary

Go Quietly, Old People

by David R. Hendersonvia Cato Institute
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Formany years,DanielCallahan, cofounder of the Hastings Center, has been writing about medical ethics and bioethics. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

In Praise of Facebook

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Over the Christmas holiday, I was talking to a young man I know who works for Facebook. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Jonathan Gruber and Me

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jonathan Gruber has gotten some negative press for not revealing that he received substantial payments from the Obama Administration while also writing a Washington Post article favoring Obama's proposed government interventions in medical care. . . .

In the News

In Defense of Avatar

by David R. Hendersonvia Anti-war.com
Monday, January 11, 2010

Do savages have rights? . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Avatar as a Defense of Property Rights

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, January 10, 2010

This is from my defense of Avatar from charges by some free-market critics. . . .

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