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

Income Variability

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 20, 2010

In a post two months ago, I pointed out the important distinction between being high-income and being rich. I gave an example of a friend, and a couple of the commenters suggested that my friend guest blog about his situation...

Analysis and Commentary

Bruce Bartlett on Supply-Side Economics

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bruce Bartlett's The New American Economy is currently my "Starbuck's book..."

Analysis and Commentary

Finally, Some Good News

by David R. Hendersonvia EconTalk
Monday, May 17, 2010

This is from Mark Lilla, "The Tea Party Jacobins," in The New York Review of Books. I'm not sure Lilla is right about the cultural trends. But if he is, this is good news indeed...

Analysis and Commentary

The Wall Street Journal's Math

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 17, 2010

I was wondering when I would first see someone make the error that arises from using the modern usage consistently. I just did...

Analysis and Commentary

Arizona Collectivism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 13, 2010

In a post a few days ago, I pointed out that many people on both sides of the new Arizona immigration law are being collectivists. A particularly flagrant example popped up in Highland Park, Illinois...

Analysis and Commentary

Why Bryan Caplan's CEA Veto Wouldn't Work

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 13, 2010

In which the author shows himself to be more Caplanesque than Caplan...

Analysis and Commentary

Arizona Immigration: Battle of the Collectivists

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 10, 2010

It's not hard for me to take sides on whether police in Arizona should be able to stop people simply on suspicion that they're in the United States illegally. I think this is one more step on the road to a police state...

Analysis and Commentary

From the Vault: My 1983 Memo on Population Growth

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, May 8, 2010

I came across the following memo that I wrote while a senior economist with President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers...

Analysis and Commentary

The Symmetry of Counterfactuals

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bottom line: to argue for anything, there's no avoiding counterfactuals. And it's symmetric...

Analysis and Commentary

Capitalism: A Confused Story

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 3, 2010

Last week, I watched Michael Moore's latest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, with two of my students. I took notes and we stopped at various points to discuss it. Some highlights...

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