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

Analysis and Commentary

Martin Anderson's Striking Analogy On The Draft

by David R. Henderson quoting Annelise Anderson, Martin Andersonvia EconLog
Saturday, November 3, 2018

I posted recently about Annelise Anderson’s reminiscences of her and her husband Martin Anderson’s role in Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign for President. She stated: The first thing that Martin did for Richard Nixon—one of the first things—it’s dated July 4, 1967—is to make the argument for abolishing the military draft and moving to an all-volunteer armed force.

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The Destructive Consequences Of Socialism

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Saturday, November 3, 2018

Trump’s CEA reports on an ideology that retards growth—and worse.

Analysis and Commentary

The 21st Century Explosion In Global Wealth

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

“Measured in current US dollars, total global wealth rose from USD 117 trillion in 2000 to 317 trillion in mid-2018, a rise of USD 200 trillion, equivalent to roughly 2.5 times global GDP.” This is Timothy Taylor, aka The Conversable Economist, quoting a Credit Suisse Research Institute report titled Global Wealth Report 2018.

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Health Care Fables

by Charles L. Hooper, David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018

Health care reform is hard but not impossible. We can start by discarding three myths.

Analysis and Commentary

Adam Smith Anti-Imperialist

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlog
Friday, October 26, 2018

One of the most surprising parts of Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is his Chapter Seven of Book Four, titled “Of Colonies.”In it, Smith discusses the effects of colonization by governments in Europe. Of particular interest is Smith’s discussion of the effects of the British government’s treatment of the thirteen colonies in North America.

Analysis and Commentary

Thick Margins

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Under the title of Tyler Cowen’s and Alex Tabarrok’s blog, Marginal Revolution, is the saying “Small Steps Toward a Much Better World.” By and large, Tyler and Alex deliver. I’m about to be critical about a recent item on which Tyler arguably doesn’t deliver, but it shouldn’t mislead you into thinking that I don’t learn a lot from their site.

Analysis and Commentary

Do Good Anyway

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

love this poem, which shows up at the end of a great movie about actress and inventor Hedy Lamar.

Analysis and Commentary

Are Cars Much Better Than 50 Years Ago?

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

Short answer: Yes. My reason for asking is a paragraph from a recent Tyler Cowen post.

Analysis and Commentary

Biography Of Christopher Sims

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

One of Sims’s earliest famous contributions was his work on money-income causality, which was cited by the Nobel committee. Money and income move together, but which causes which? Milton Friedman argued that changes in the money supply caused changes in income, noting that the supply of money often rises before income rises. Keynesians such as James Tobin argued that changes in income caused changes in the amount of money. Money seems to move first, but causality, said Tobin and others, still goes the other way: people hold more money when they expect income to rise in the future.

Analysis and Commentary

I Need Some Muscle Over Here

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

The title of this post is that now-famous quote from University of Missouri faculty member Melissa Click. It’s her threat to a reporter who was covering a protest on the campus. I thought of it when reading this story about how the FDIC muscled a payday lender and tried to make it look as if the payday lender took the initiative.