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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Cowen On The Egalitarianism Of The Economics Profession

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 11, 2019

Economic analysis is itself value-free, but in practice it encourages a cosmopolitan interest in natural equality. Many economic models, of course, assume that all individuals are motivated by rational self-interest or some variant thereof; even the so-called behavioral theories tweak only the fringes of a basically common, rational understanding of people. The crucial implication is this: If you treat all individuals as fundamentally the same in your theoretical constructs, it would be odd to insist that the law should suddenly start treating them differently.

Analysis and Commentary

Adam Smith's Beautiful Reductio Ad Absurdum

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 10, 2019

I’m about to leave for home from an excellent Liberty Fund colloquium on “Free Trade and Liberty” in La Jolla. Thanks to Liberty Fund, discussion leader Sandra Peart, organizers Pierre Lemieux and Liberty Fund’s Hans Eicholz, and the other participants.

Analysis and Commentary

Ernie Fitzgerald RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 8, 2019

David Boaz, over at the Cato Institute, has an obituary today of A. Ernest Fitzgerald, the legendary cost analyst at the Pentagon. Here’s the Washington Post‘s obituary. The Post does an excellent job and so I won’t try to replicate it here. I do recommend reading it so that you can get a feel for how heroic he was, risking his job and President Nixon’s personal wrath to blow the whistle on the cost overruns on the Pentagon’s C-5A program.

Analysis and Commentary

Cuomo Admits Tax Burden On "The Rich"

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Finally, a major Democratic politician admits it. "Governor Andrew Cuomo said the super-wealthy in New York – accounting for 1 percent of tax filers – end up paying 46 percent of the personal income taxes the state collects each year."

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On AOC And Allowing Billionaires

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In a recent interview, author Ta-Nehisi Coates asked newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whether we “live in a moral world that allows for billionaires.”

Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured

AOC Versus Adam Smith

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Let us debate what billionaires do for America.

Analysis and Commentary

Greg Mankiw Responds

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Last week, I challenged Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw’s interpretation of Mr. Potter in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Greg has responded by email and given me permission to quote it. (By the way, he was a junior economist when I was a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and, although we see each other rarely, get along well. He’s a genuinely good guy and so none of my criticism reflects any animus towards him.)

Analysis and Commentary

Ask What Changed

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 4, 2019

When you try to understand change, whether in economics or in the rest of life, one good rule is to ask what other factor or factors changed. To explain a change in one variable, we have to point to another variable that changed, not to one that stayed the same.

Analysis and Commentary

Jake Tapper Doesn't Understand Freedom

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 3, 2019

We shouldn’t get to a place where there are people yelling from the rafters that because you have been successful, you are a bad person and we’re going to be punitive to you. That’s, to me, the antithesis of the spirit of the country.” So said Starbucks chairman emeritus Howard Schultz.

Analysis and Commentary

Customs Officer Discovers Effects Of International Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 3, 2019

About a week after I was made a Commissioner of the Customs, upon looking over the list of prohibited goods, (which is hung up in every Customhouse and which is well worth your considering) and upon examining my own wearing apparel, I found, to my great astonishment, that I had scarce a stock, a cravat, a pair of ruffles, or a pocket handkerchief which was not prohibited to be worn or used in G. Britain. 

Pages