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

Without Government Intervention, Who Would Kill Our Pets?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, September 23, 2018

As Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast, Tammie Hedges took action to protect pets that might have otherwise been caught in the storm – a decision that led to her arrest.

Analysis and Commentary

Thinking On The Margin With Our Sick Cat

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, September 22, 2018

In December 2016, I posted about the fact that we had started giving our cat chemotherapy for his small-cell lymphoma. It seemed to work for a while, but in November 2017, it seemed to be failing. Joey, our cat, was starting to lose weight. He had been about 16.5 pounds (which was, admittedly, too much) before he got sick, but in November it was down to about 15.5 pounds, but, more important, he was vomiting a lot.

Analysis and Commentary

Wages Have Grown More Than Many Of Us Thought

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, September 21, 2018

Standard wage data show that between the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2018, real wages in the U.S. increased only 0.1%. But there are three major problems with these data. First, they don’t account for fringe benefits, which are an increasing proportion of employee pay. Second, standard wage data use an index that overstates the inflation rate. Third, each year the composition of the workforce changes, as older, higher-paid workers retire and young, lower-paid workers enter the workforce.

Featured

Wages Are Growing Faster Than You Think

by David R. Henderson quoting Michael J. Boskinvia The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, September 20, 2018

[Subscription Required] Standard wage data show that between the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2018, real wages in the U.S. increased only 0.1%. But there are three major problems with these data.

Analysis and Commentary

Rogge's Effect On Trade

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, September 20, 2018

To the direct success we have achieved—the sinking of fifteen ships of more than 100,000 tons aggregate, often with most valuable cargo—should be added the indirect effect on the trade war, such the tying-down of warships and the diversion of merchant ships near the coast, which must have resulted in a higher consumption of fuel and a slower turn-round of the ships.

Analysis and Commentary

Does Monopsony Lead To Lower Prices?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

In an unusually critical and mainly on-target criticism of one commenter’s critiques of Amazon, Tyler Cowen writes: First, monopsony and monopoly tend to have contrasting or opposite effects. To the extent Amazon is a monopsony, that leads to higher output and lower prices.

Analysis and Commentary

Central Planning In War

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In the last 2 months, I’ve read 6 books about the attack on the Zam Zam in April 1941. It was the ship my uncle Fred Henderson and aunt Jamie Henderson were on when they were heading to the Belgian Congo to be medical missionaries. It was attacked and sunk by the German raider Atlantis and they, along with all the other ship’s passengers and crew were taken prisoner, transferred to the Dresden, and sent to occupied France. 

Analysis and Commentary

Don Boudreaux's Ah-Hah Moment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, September 17, 2018

In “The Greatest Service Economists Perform,” published this morning by the American Institute for Economic Research, Don Boudreaux tells a story that he had told me in shorter form many years ago. It’s one of my favorite stories about someone being “hooked on economics,” to the use the title of Chapter 2 of my book The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Krueger On Terrorism

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, September 15, 2018

How serious a problem is terrorism? Krueger’s table of relative risks shows that the answer is “not very.” An American’s lifetime risk of being killed by a terrorist, calculates Krueger, is 1:69,000. Compare that to the 1:88 chance of being killed in a motor vehicle accident and the even more serious 1:7 risk of dying from cancer and 1:4 risk of dying from heart disease.

Analysis and Commentary

Should Antitrust Be Used Against Amazon?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A few days ago, Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution linked to a New York Times piece about antitrust scholar Lina Khan. The item, by David Streitfeld, is titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea,” NYT, Sept. 7, 2018. Much of the story is fluff although Streitfeld does tell the reader that Ms. Khan’s ideas have the potential to influence decisions by the Federal Trade Commission.

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