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

Richer Than Rockefeller?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 8, 2018

I gave a talk late yesterday afternoon at the branch of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute operated by California State University, Monterey Bay. Thanks to Michele Crompton and her very competent aide, Leslie.

Featured

A War On The Rich Won’t Help The Poor

by David R. Hendersonvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Oxfam notes that poverty has declined sharply, then ignores the quickest way to reduce it even more.

Analysis and Commentary

Compliance Costs Of Federal Income Taxes Are Over 1 Percent Of GDP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Benzarti estimates the perceived compliance costs to tax filers by computing whether there were "too few" taxpayers with itemized deductions slightly greater than the standard deduction threshold. Taxpayers who might save a few dollars by itemizing might decide that itemizing was not worth the effort; those who could save much larger amounts would presumably incur the cost of keeping records and itemizing their deductions. 

Analysis and Commentary

Male Uber Drivers Earn More And It's Not Due To Discrimination

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The growth of the "gig" economy generates worker flexibility that, some have speculated, will favor women. We explore one facet of the gig economy by examining labor supply choices and earnings among more than a million rideshare drivers on Uber in the U.S. Perhaps most surprisingly, we find that there is a roughly 7% gender earnings gap amongst drivers. The uniqueness of our data--knowing exactly the production and compensation functions--permits us to completely unpack the underlying determinants of the gender earnings gap. We find that the entire gender gap is caused by three factors: experience on the platform (learning-by-doing), preferences over where/when to work, and preferences for driving speed. 

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On BBC Newsday

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 5, 2018

I will be on BBC Newsday tonight at 10:06 PST live. That's 6:06 a.m. tomorrow London time. Topic: Drop in stock prices.

Analysis and Commentary

Southern Blacks Voted With Their Feet

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, February 5, 2018

Millions of black people in the Jim Crow South were prevented from voting. That's the bad news. Fortunately, there's some good news. They were able to vote with their feet and millions of them did. In doing so, they benefited themselves both economically and politically, and also benefitted millions of white people in the North with whom they traded. What happened in the United States in the last century is dramatic evidence that voting with one's feet is much more powerful than voting at the ballot box. That experience has lessons for today's controversy over immigration to America.

Immigration
Analysis and Commentary

An Immigration Puzzle Solved

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, February 4, 2018

To the surprise of some, the Republican Congress largely supports Trump's restrictionist approach to immigration. Apparently Republicans are favoring their nativist base over their traditional allies in business. Why?

Analysis and Commentary

Could Driverless Trucks Create More Trucking Jobs?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, February 3, 2018

Answer: Maybe and even if they don't, it doesn't matter much.

Analysis and Commentary

Good News On The Economy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, February 2, 2018

The job numbers are out today and they show that 200,000 jobs were added in January. That's good. Even better is that 164,000 of those jobs--over 80%-- were on private nonfarm payrolls.

Analysis and Commentary

Government Innumeracy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, February 1, 2018

This week we've seen a striking example of government innumeracy that has a good chance of badly affecting government policy.

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