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

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End The Lockdowns Now

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, May 7, 2020

The present situation is exacting a painful cost on economic freedom. 

Analysis and Commentary

Alex Tabarrok Misstates An Important Issue

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlib
Thursday, May 7, 2020
But we are not having a rational discussion about the tools and the investments that we need to reopen the economy. Instead, the people protesting to reopen the economy are also protesting against the use of a key tool to reopen the economy, masks! Welcome to crazy town.
Interviews

David R. Henderson Critiques Stimulus Bill And Organizes Protest Of CA Lockdown

interview with David R. Hendersonvia The Bob Murphy Show
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson discusses COVID-19, lockdowns, the stimulus bill, and much more.

Analysis and Commentary

Frustrating Drug Advancement

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 5, 2020

David Kessler, who was FDA commissioner under both presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, confidently stated, “When the industry sells a drug, the drug works, and it does what it says on the label. Take that away and we go back to snake oil.”

Analysis and Commentary

Organizational Charts Versus Public Choice

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 3, 2020

“You can’t just say the word ‘government’ three times and think you’ve solved the problem.” —Harold Demsetz, speech at the University of Winnipeg, January 1970.

Analysis and Commentary

Government Lockdowns Affect More Than The Margin

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 3, 2020

In an otherwise excellent blog post that I recommend reading for its own sake, Cato Institute health economist Michael Cannon writes: Similar to health insurers, auto insurers are saving money because people are driving less.

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David Henderson: Crosstalk On Economy | Quarantine Edition | Business As Usual?

interview with David R. Hendersonvia RT
Friday, May 1, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson assesses the economic damage left in the wake of the pandemic and whether there is too much or little government involvement.

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Henderson On RT Crosstalk

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, May 1, 2020

Earlier this week, I was on Peter Lavelle’s CrossTalk on RT. Here it is. Those who know my views might be surprised that I didn’t ever state a disagreement with John Laughland about monetary policy. I disagree fundamentally, and my views typically track those of monetary economist George Selgin. But I had to choose which things to use my scarce time on. I thought it went well.

Interviews

Covid-19 And Capitalism With David Henderson

interview with David R. Hendersonvia IEA
Friday, May 1, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson discusses COVID-19 and capitalism.

Analysis and Commentary

Liberation From Lockdown Now

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, April 30, 2020

I was interviewed last week by Juliette Sellgren, a 17-year old in northern Virginia who asked good questions and showed that she already understood what a public good is. Her podcast is titled “Juliette’s Uncommon Knowledge.” She’s an impressive young lady and we had a nice talk after the interview about her college and career plans.

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