David R. Henderson

Research Fellow

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

Governmental influences on drug development: striking a better balance

by Henry I. Miller, David R. Henderson
Friday, May 11, 2007

There is much debate worldwide over how governmental policies affect pharmaceutical innovation. Ensuring the safety of drugs must be offset against providing timely access to potentially life-saving or life-enhancing therapies. The authors argue that there is a need for a more balanced approach to governmental interventions.

Analysis and Commentary

Don't Abolish the AMT

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

In the late 1970s, supply-side economists and journalists, many of them writing on this page, began and won a debate in economics...

Analysis and Commentary

Deal or No Deal for Organs?

by David R. Hendersonvia New York Sun
Tuesday, April 3, 2007

We've got a deal for you...

Making Great Decisions in Business and Life

Making Great Decisions in Business and Life

by David R. Hendersonvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Monday, March 12, 2007

The phrase "work smarter, not harder" has been repeatedly ridiculed in the Dilbert comic strip and elsewhere, not because it is a bad idea, but because it is thrown like a brick lifesaver to drowning employees.

Analysis and Commentary

Sirius Business

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In expressing its strong reservations about the proposed merger between Sirius and XM, the Federal Communications Commission seems to think that there are only two competitors and that a merger would reduce the number to one...

Analysis and Commentary

Can the CBO Spell IRA?

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Is the share of income of the top 1% in the United States high and rising?

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Right Back Where We Started From

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Governor Schwarzenegger has muscled his way into familiar territory: using government power to solve the health-insurance conundrum. Why he’s only making things worse. By David R. Henderson.

Analysis and Commentary

Top of the World?

by David R. Hendersonvia TCS Daily
Thursday, January 11, 2007

This is the final installment of my three-part review of Alan Reynolds's excellent new book, Income and Wealth...

Analysis and Commentary


by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger presented his proposal for reducing the number of Californians who lack health insurance...

Analysis and Commentary

What the Real-Wage Pessimists Are Missing

by David R. Hendersonvia TCS Daily
Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Some economists and journalists—I'll call them "the real-wage pessimists"—have claimed that average real wages have fallen during substantial time periods over the last 30 or so years...