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

The Joy of Freedom

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Why ideas really do matter. By Hoover fellow David R. Henderson.

Analysis and Commentary

What Part of “No Law” Doesn’t Congress Get?

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, March 11, 2002

"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging freedom of speech." What part of "no law" does Congress not understand?

Analysis and Commentary

Who Pays for the Patients' Bill of Rights?

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, October 1, 2001

The people who actually pay the higher cost of employer-provided benefits are employees.

California Steamin’

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, California’s energy problems are not the result of deregulation but of reregulation. By Hoover fellow David R. Henderson.

Analysis and Commentary

Two Good Reasons for a Tax Cut

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, April 2, 2001

Taxes should be cut independent of the current growth of the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Make Money Off My Sickness . . . Please

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, August 28, 2000

Last May, Senator Paul Wellstone said of pharmaceutical companies, “We have an industry that makes exorbitant profits off sickness, misery, and illness of people and that is obscene.”

Analysis and Commentary

The Case for Sweatshops

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, February 7, 2000

Interviewed recently by a Miami Herald reporter, Ms. Lopez has a message for people in the United States and other wealthy countries who are nervous about buying goods from "sweatshops": "I wish more people would buy the clothes we make."

Capitalist Culture

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 1999

Capitalism may make us all rich, but what does it do for our cultural life? According to Hoover fellow David R. Henderson, quite a lot.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 30, 1999

Every so often it’s worth pausing to reflect on just how good capitalism has been to us. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson compares average Americans with medieval kings—and concludes that the kings were paupers.

You Call That a Case?

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, January 30, 1999

How weak is the case against Microsoft? Even a Netscape lobbyist considers it wobbly. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson reports.