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

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No More Hot Air

by David R. Henderson, John H. Cochrane via Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

If the climate is changing, political rhetoric won't help. Hard economic data can.

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Aye, Robot

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Yes, the robots are coming, but not for our jobs. Automation will bring new kinds of work, and new chances to create wealth. 

Analysis and Commentary

Burger King Has It Its Way

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 26, 2018

Clemson University economist, and expert on the FCC and net neutrality, Thomas W. Hazlett, wrote the following on Facebook yesterday (he gave me permission to quote) about Burger King's now-famous (infamous) exposition of net neutrality.

Analysis and Commentary

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Her servants. Today Google has highlighted author Virginia Woolf, who was born 136 years ago today.

Analysis and Commentary

My Interview With Murphy-Lara

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Robert Murphy, who is one of the heavy hitters for Econlib, interviewed me by email last month and it's out in the Lara-Murphy Report. The report is by paid subscription but Bob gave me permission to post the whole interview.

Analysis and Commentary

Right To Work Works

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Labor unions play a central role in the Democratic party coalition, providing candidates with voters, volunteers, and contributions, as well as lobbying policymakers. Has the sustained decline of organized labor hurt Democrats in elections and shifted public policy? We use the enactment of right-to-work laws--which weaken unions by removing agency shop protections-- to estimate the effect of unions on politics from 1980 to 2016.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Tillerson

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 22, 2018

Someone not familiar with the ISIS story might conclude that Tillerson was saying that the US government defeated ISIS. Of course, if you read his speech carefully, you'll see that he didn't say that. What he said was that the US government had a plan and had been active in defeating ISIS. 

Analysis and Commentary

Rex Tillerson At Hoover

by David R. Hendersonvia Antiwar.com
Monday, January 22, 2018

On Wednesday morning last week, I, as a research fellow with the Hoover Institution, got to attend a speech by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It was followed by a Q&A session with former Secretary of State and my Hoover colleague Condoleezza Rice.

Analysis and Commentary

Response To A New Zealander

by David R. Hendersonmentioning Alvin Rabushkavia EconLog
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A man whom I've become friends with in the last month or so often shares thoughts on email about political issues. He sent along an email he received from a friend and it includes an email from a New Zealand friend.

Analysis and Commentary

Hope For Italy?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A coalition of center-right parties (market-oriented, low-tax conservative parties in American parlance) agreed to an electoral pact on Thursday, January 18, 2018. 

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