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

Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics in Alexandria

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The predecessor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics was The Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Ayn Rand Discovers Public Choice

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is from Ayn Rand and the World She Made, by Anne C. Heller. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

CBS's Propaganda on Gold

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, November 30, 2009

In the lead segment of "60 Minutes" last night, CBS did the unusual: it presented an incoherent story. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Bob Murphy on EMH

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ever since I was an assistant professor at the University of Rochester's B-school (now called the Simon School) in the late 1970s, I have believed in the Efficient Markets Hypothesis. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Accountability and the Web

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Musician Dave Carroll recently posted a video on YouTube after United Airlines refused to take responsibility for one of its employees' having wrecked his Taylor guitar. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Price Discrimination: Illegal or Not?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In his excellent post on price discrimination and how pervasive it seems to be, Arnold states: The manufacturer would like to charge $400 to JS and $200 to BZ. However, to do so blatantly would be illegal. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

SuperFreakonomics, III

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is my third post (see the first two here and here) on Levitt and Dubner's SuperFreakonomics. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

UC Tuition: The Revolt of the Will-Haves

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, November 23, 2009

Taxpayer funding of higher education is a forced transfer to the relatively wealthy. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

The Right Minimum Wage Question

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, November 22, 2009

Like Bryan, I received the same request from the same friend: what question(s) would I want to put on a survey of economists. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

International Trade Economists are Bayesians

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Bryan's excellent recent post on why most economists aren't Bayesians, he writes that the position of economic theorists is: If no one has proven that Comparative Advantage still holds with imperfect competition, transportation costs, and indivisibilities, only an ignoramus would jump the gun and recommend free trade in a world with these characteristics. . . .

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