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

Sanders And AOC's Elitist Credit Card Caps

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have announced plans to introduce legislation that would limit the interest rate that credit card companies are allowed to charge customers. Although there is currently no federal limit, some state governments have limits. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez propose capping the annual rate of interest on credit card debt at 15 percent.

Analysis and Commentary

SEC Privilege

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Russ Hooper, a young econ major who was one of my best research assistants, wrote me the following, with permission to quote: Impossible Foods makes Impossible Burgers, which are vegan burgers that look, taste, and feel like beef burgers. I’m a huge fan of beef burgers, and yet I prefer these. I’m not alone: they’ve been such a hit that Impossible Foods is struggling to meet demand.

Analysis and Commentary

Helicopters Over Manhattan

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 13, 2019

Helicopters have been whisking the wealthy from Manhattan to New York’s airports for decades. Now the ride costs as little as $195, and you can book it via a smartphone. Back in 2014, when Rob Wiesenthal founded Blade Urban Air Mobility Inc., a chopper ride to John F. Kennedy Airport—13 miles from Manhattan—started at $3,000, he says. Wiesenthal has been able to chop that price after finding efficiencies in fueling, equipment, and scheduling.

Analysis and Commentary

Regulatory Reset In Idaho

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, May 11, 2019

My friend and former student Paul Gerner suggested to me a few years ago that the federal government have a “regulatory reset.” The idea is that the government eliminates all regulations and then brings back the one it decides it wants. Presumably we would end up with substantially fewer regulations.

Analysis and Commentary

Baseball Great Albert Pujols Defends Property Rights

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 10, 2019

"I don’t play this game so I can pay fans so they can give me, you know… He can have that piece of history, its for the fans that we play for too. He has the right to keep it, the ball went in the stands so I would never fight anybody to give anything back."

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
Analysis and Commentary

75 Minutes With Jordan Peterson

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 10, 2019

Last Thursday I drove up to San Francisco with a friend, Tom, to see Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson speak. 

Analysis and Commentary

Armen Alchian's Economic Forces At Work

by David R. Hendersonvia The Library of Economics and Liberty
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Alchian’s work spanned a number of disciplines within economics. Though generally thought of as a microeconomist—using economics to explain and predict behavior in individual markets—he also wrote or co-authored important articles on macroeconomics, especially in the areas of inflation and unemployment.

Analysis and Commentary

Robert Pear RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Robert Pear, a reporter whose understated demeanor belied a tenacious pursuit of sources and scoops during his 40 years at The New York Times covering health care and other critical national issues, died on Tuesday in Rockville, Md. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Power Of Bastiat's Unseen

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects.

Federal Reserve
Analysis and Commentary

Alan Reynolds Catches Shoddy Reporting About Federal Reserve Survey

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 6, 2019

My guess is that you’ve heard that famous result from a recent Federal Reserve survey of Americans: Four in 10 adults in 2017 would either borrow, sell something, or not be able pay if faced with a $400 emergency expense. That’s the exact wording of the Federal Reserve Board’s report of the results of its survey.

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