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

Are The Tax Cuts And Increased Wages And Bonuses Connected?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 19, 2018

They might be. Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center has an excellent piece at Reason on the connection, if any, between the recent cut in the corporate income tax rates and the spate of bonuses, pay increases, and increases in employer contributions to employee 401(k)s. Her article is titled "Is Tax Reform Already Working?"

Analysis and Commentary

The Big Victims Of Drug Prohibition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Never forget consumer surplus.

Analysis and Commentary

For A Free Market In Plasma

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ottawa, Ontario and Washington, D.C. - A group of professional ethicists and economists published an open letter urging provincial governments to reconsider proposals to ban compensation for blood plasma donations. The letter is signed by 26 ethicists and economists, including two Nobel Prize winners (Alvin Roth and Vernon Smith), a recipient of the Order of Canada (Jan Narveson), amongst others.

Analysis and Commentary

Hillary Clinton Was Wrong

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 15, 2018

In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption.

Analysis and Commentary

Welcoming Prejudice

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, January 14, 2018

I don't believe in intellectual cooties. Reason: This year there has been a lot of discussion about whether there's a pipeline between libertarians and the alt-right.

Analysis and Commentary

Has President Trump Been Very Consequential?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, January 12, 2018

Over at his other blog, TheMoneyIllusion, fellow EconLog blogger Scott Sumner writes: I've often suggested that Presidents have far less power than people assume, and that events tend to follow the "zeitgeist", or the prevailing mood in the country. That's why Obamacare was not repealed, and it explains why Trump has not been very consequential, despite his obvious personal flaws.

Analysis and Commentary

But Or Therefore?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Marin County has long resisted growth in the name of environmentalism. But high housing costs and segregation persist." So reads the title of a news story by Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times. The reporting is excellent. I hope Mr. Dillon didn't choose the title.

Analysis and Commentary

Both Sides--BDS And Israel's Government--Are Wrong On BDS

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, January 11, 2018

An appeal to basic principles of freedom explains why.

Analysis and Commentary

Economic Freedom Via Freedom Of Speech

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

To paraphrase the Eleventh Circuit, imposing a surcharge rather than offering a discount is no more misleading than calling the weather warmer in New Orleans rather than colder in San Francisco. 

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Trump

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Richard Reinsch, the editor of our sister Liberty Fund blog, "Law and Liberty," asked me to write a response essay to this essay on Donald Trump by Greg Weiner.

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