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

Jeff Hummel On David Andolfatto

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

David Andolfatto, an economist and Vice-President of the St. Louis Fed (and apparently, going by his CV, a fellow Canadian) wrote last year: The fact that bonds become close substitutes for money when their yields are similar explains how the supply and demand for bonds can influence the inflation rate.

Analysis and Commentary

CBS Sunday Morning Is Often Implicitly Libertarian

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 20, 2018

A few years ago, I loved watching CBS Sunday Morning for the beautiful 45-second nature scenes they show right at the end. I finally got smart a few months ago and started DVRing it. Then I can fast forward through everything else I love and get to the parts I want.

Analysis and Commentary

One Possible Benefit Of The Royal Wedding

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, May 19, 2018

I woke this morning at 4 a.m. PDT and, as is my wont, turned on ESPN. But the woman on ESPN was saying that many people were watching the royal wedding. Ooh, I thought, I forgot. So I turned to ABC and watched it for a while as I did my bicycle exercise. The worst part: a black U.S. minister, Michael Curry, who took full advantage of his 15 minutes of fame; he seemed to forget at times that the wedding wasn't about his agenda and his views.

Analysis and Commentary

Workers Affect Worker Safety Too

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 18, 2018

When I taught a cost/benefit analysis course, one of the topics I covered was worker safety. Using W. Kip Viscusi's excellent entry "Job Safety" in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, I showed that there is an implicit market for safety in the workplace and that workers do a pretty good job of judging relative risks.

Analysis and Commentary

Little Pink House Is A 9

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 17, 2018
I saw the movie Little Pink House in Monterey on Tuesday night. I rate movies on a scale of 1 to 10. Anything 7 or over is one I'm glad I saw and would recommend. Little Pink House is a 9.
Analysis and Commentary

Little Pink House Is A 9

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, May 17, 2018

I saw the movie Little Pink House in Monterey on Tuesday night. Here's the trailer. I rate movies on a scale of 1 to 10. Anything 7 or over is one I'm glad I saw and would recommend. Little Pink House is a 9.

Bitcoins
Analysis and Commentary

Futures Trading Brought Down Bitcoin Price

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

From Bitcoin's inception in 2009 through mid-2017, its price remained under $4,000. In the second half of 2017, it climbed dramatically to nearly $20,000, but descended rapidly starting in mid-December. The peak price coincided with the introduction of bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Analysis and Commentary

Kennan On Card And Krueger And Obenauer And Nienburg

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, May 14, 2018

In a book of this size (over 400 pages) one would like to see a chapter tracing the history of economists' attempts to measure the effects of minimum wages. Instead, the book contains only casual and sometimes misleading references. For example, [Here he quotes Card and Krueger] The idea of using natural experiments is hardly new in economics.

Analysis and Commentary

Two Good Economists' Letters

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 13, 2018

Greg Mankiw writes: Some sign a letter opposing tariffs. Others sign a letter supporting President Trump. You can guess which one I signed. Like Greg, I signed the first one and not the second one. However, had I been asked to sign the second--I wasn't--the only reason I would have refused is that it's billed as "Economists for Trump."

Analysis and Commentary

80 Years Before Card And Krueger

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 13, 2018

A labor economist friend who studies the minimum wage writes: I found a 103 year old BLS report on a minimum wage increase in Oregon that had a stronger grasp on credible research design than Card & Krueger. Also, one of the authors is named "Bertha von der Nienburg" and she was 24 when the report was written. If I was the sort of person who did that sort of thing, I'd blog about this.

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