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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The Biggest Losers?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 7, 2019

The world turns even if America doesn’t. That’s certainly true on trade, where a rebranded Trans-Pacific Partnership has begun with the new year in 11 countries two years after President Trump withdrew. The biggest losers are American producers.

hoover portrait
Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Hazlett And The FCC

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, January 7, 2019

Most histories of radio in the United States will tell you that the Federal Radio Commission (FRC)—the predecessor of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—came into being as a necessary response to the chaos that prevailed when signals from multiple radio stations interfered with each other. But according to Clemson University economist Thomas Winslow Hazlett, in his recent book The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone, that story is wrong.

Analysis and Commentary

Three Felonies A Day?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, January 5, 2019

The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague.

Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Envelope BBBB, Hoover Institution Archives
Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

How The Electromagnetic Spectrum Became Politicized

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

An account of the FCC's many glaring mistakes. 

Analysis and Commentary

About That Cuban Life Expectancy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 31, 2018

Cuban health statistics appear to be a paradox. Wealth and health are correlated because greater wealth can buy better health care. Yet, Cuba remains desperately poor and appears to be healthy. Cuban life expectancies of 79.5 years and infant mortality rates of 4.3 per 1000 live births (2015) compare well with rich nations like the USA (78.7 years and 5.7 per 1, 000 live births) yet its per capita income of 7602.3$ make it one of the poorest economies in the hemisphere (World Development Indicators DataBank, 2017).

Analysis and Commentary

How One Worker Adjusted To Job Loss

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, December 28, 2018

Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!).

Analysis and Commentary

The Wall Probably Fails A Market Test

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, December 27, 2018

I was telling a friend today about my recent blog post titled “A Friendly Amendment on the Border Wall.” He hadn’t read the post but quickly understood my point. His reaction: Almost no property owner would take that deal. Of course, whether the owner would take the deal would depend heavily on how much was offered. Make it high enough and many property owners would take the deal.

Analysis and Commentary

Sunstein's Book Has Strengths And Weaknesses

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

From 2009 to 2012, [Cass] Sunstein headed the Obama administration’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the part of the executive branch that enforces the requirement for cost–benefit analyses of major government regulations. Seeing government up close often makes analytic people cynical, but that hasn’t been the case with Sunstein. He emerged from his almost four-year stint in Washington as a strong believer in the power of cost–benefit analysis to lead not only to answers but also to good outcomes.

Analysis and Commentary

The Unpredictability Of Deregulation

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlib
Thursday, December 20, 2018

A closer look, though, at the deregulatory movement of the 1970s offers some grounds for optimism. Neither Carter nor Kennedy was particularly ideologically opposed to regulation. Rather, the deregulation was due to a confluence of circumstances, not all of which could be predicted, but which one can imagine being imitated.

Analysis and Commentary

Arnold Kling On The Financial Crisis

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

In hindsight, within each sector affected by the crisis, we can find moral hazard, cognitive failures, and policy failures. Moral hazard (in insurance company terminology) arises when individuals and firms face incentives to profit from taking risks without having to bear responsibility in the event of losses.

Pages