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

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Let Freedom Rein In Big Tech

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 17, 2022

Competition, not regulation, is the way to solve the problem of suppressed ideas and speech.

Author P.J. O'Rourke reflects on life in the sixties to today with nostalgia and humor
Analysis and Commentary

P.J. O'Rourke, RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Humorist P.J. O’Rourke died this morning, at age 74, of lung cancer. As well as being a humorist generally, he was the top economic humorist in the United States.

Analysis and Commentary

The Consensus On Price Controls

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 11, 2022

On the Chicago Booth Initiative on Global Markets last month is the following statement: Price controls as deployed in the 1970s could successfully reduce US inflation over the next 12 months.

Analysis and Commentary

Causes And Consequences Of Rent Seeking

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

New York-based Strategas Asset Management believes that lobbying is so profitable for corporations that it launched an EFT (exchange-traded fund) based on the stocks of the most lobbying-intensive companies. “If it works,” notes a Financial Times journalist, “small investors will now at least be able to grab their share of the spoils” (Steve Johnson, “Corporate lobbying ETF seeks to profit from influencing politicians,” Financial Times, February 7, 2022).

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Wake Up And Smell The CAFE

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 3, 2022

Government-ordered auto mileage standards made little sense when they were created, and continue to impose costs today.

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Price Controls: Still A Bad Idea

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, January 20, 2022

A market-distorting tactic brings both short- and long-term harm.


Will California's Government Raise Taxes Even More?

by David R. Hendersonvia Institute for Policy Innovation
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Are California taxes too high? Well, seven members of California’s Legislative Assembly and five  members of the Senate think they’re not high enough.

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John Madden, Joseph Schumpeter, And Competition

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Successful competitors are those who bring innovation to the game.

Analysis and Commentary

Coercion Made The Pandemic Worse

by David R. Hendersonvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 27, 2021

Freedom is the central component of the best problem-solving system ever devised.

Co-Author: Charles L. Hooper

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Inflation: What Next?

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, December 16, 2021

A closer look at a widely misunderstood measure of the economy’s health.