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

Progress In Palestinians' Property Rights

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, August 6, 2018

With the case for pessimism so strong, we must take whatever good news we can find. Some of us have longed for the emergence of a charismatic Palestinian figure who, while opposing Israeli oppression and settler-colonialism in all its forms, would also defend individual property rights and free enterprise while condemning both outside donor aid as dependence-inducing and the corrupt, authoritarian, and unrepresentative Palestinian Authority (PA).

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson's Heroism, Part II

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

This is from some reminiscences that my uncle Fred Henderson wrote about escaping from a German prison camp during World War II.

Analysis and Commentary

A Case Against A Carbon Tax For All Ideologies

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, July 28, 2018

Earlier this week Brad Polumbo published a piece in the Washington Examiner making a case for a carbon tax. His piece, “A Conservative Case for the Carbon Tax,” Washington Examiner, July 26, 2018, covers some ground that will be familiar to many people who have followed the debate.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson's Heroism, Part I

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, July 26, 2018

The following two paragraphs are from Dr. A.G. Henderson, “Out of the Hands of the Enemy,” The Canadian Disciple, April, 1945, Vol. IX, No. 4, Owen Sound, Ontario. On the masthead is written “Published in the Interests of the Churches of Christ in Canada.”

Analysis and Commentary

Reynolds On The Return Of Antitrust

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Alan Reynolds is in true form in his article  “The Return of Antitrust?” in Regulation, Spring 2018. [Two disclosures: (1) In the late 1970s, Alan, more than anyone else, encouraged me to write for general-interest publications and not just for academic journals, and I still feel thankful; (2) I’m one of the regular contributors to Regulation, one of my favorite magazines.]

Analysis and Commentary

The Whiskey Rebellion

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My economic historian friend Jeff Hummel, an economics professor at San Jose State University, recommended the book. It opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t know. I had heard briefly about the Whiskey Rebellion of western Pennsylvania, but I hadn’t known how serious it was, how violent it was, and the role that Alexander Hamilton, then the Treasury Secretary, played.

Analysis and Commentary

Alexander Hamilton's Machinations To Get Political Rival Gallatin

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

In the book The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hogeland, I learned some fascinating facts about Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s machinations to get one of his successors at the U.S. Treasury, Albert Gallatin.

Analysis and Commentary

Solzhenitsyn True And False, Part III

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, July 16, 2018

"A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West, while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger."

Analysis and Commentary

Solzhenitsyn True And False, Part II

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, July 15, 2018

"The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom. (I shall be using the word press to include all media.) But what sort of use does it make of this freedom?"

Analysis and Commentary

Solzhenitsyn True And False, Part I

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, July 14, 2018

At a Liberty Fund conference late last year, a new friend recommended that I read Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 commencement address at Harvard. It was in large part his critique of Western, and especially U.S., society. I had read it decades earlier but had no clear memory of it. So I reread it twice.

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