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

A Short Paragraph Full Of Errors

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"The great monopolies of that period -- Rockefeller's Standard Oil, the sugar trust, the financial and railroad interests -- used their power to corrupt the economy and politics. Market power both reduces growth and increases inequality. Recognizing this, leaders put into place antitrust and worker protection laws."

Analysis and Commentary

More Wisdom From Steven Pinker's Enlightenment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, April 29, 2018

As I mentioned last week, I'm reviewing Steven Pinker's new book, Enlightenment Now, and loving it. 

Analysis and Commentary

Blinder's Blunder On Social Security

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 28, 2018

In a Wall Street Journal review of Alan Blinder's latest book, Advice and Dissent, Matthew Rees writes: Mr. Blinder cites two measures to show what can be accomplished when economists and politicians work together. In 1983 the members of a Social Security commission put forward a bold and sound idea: gradually raising the retirement age to 67.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Lars Larsen Show

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Last week, I was interviewed on the Lars Larsen radio show. He spent the whole week at Hoover interviewing various colleagues. My segment starts at about the 1 hour and 20 minute point and ends at about the 1 hour and 29 minute point. 

Hoover senior fellow Thomas Sowell
Analysis and Commentary

Tom Sowell Still Going Strong

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dave Rubin has an excellent 46-minute interview with my Hoover colleague Thomas Sowell. Sowell has such a compelling and attractive personality in this interview, along with his ability to pull out simple but telling facts There are so many things to quote, but why quote them?

Analysis and Commentary

Leland Yeager, RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The great economist Leland Yeager died yesterday. He was not just a great economist but also a great man.

Analysis and Commentary

Passionate Wisdom From Steven Pinker

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I'm just past the middle of Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress for a review I'm writing. I love the book.

Analysis and Commentary

Unemployment

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 23, 2018

As a former senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers, I get in the mail near the start of every month the Council's report "Economic Indicators," prepared for the Joint Economic Committee. I like old-fashioned hard copy, but it's available to the public on line as a pdf.

Analysis and Commentary

Quickly Admitting You're Wrong

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, April 22, 2018

I wrote last weekend about why I find it relatively easy to admit mistakes. In the week since I've remembered one early instance where I admitted a point quickly and surprised the other person and one instance where a famous economist admitted my point quickly and surprised me.

Analysis and Commentary

I Found It At The Movies

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 21, 2018

With apologies to Pauline Kael. April has been a great month for anti-government movies. I'll highlight three that I saw this month, with multiple spoilers: "The Death of Stalin," "Chappaquiddick," and "The Post."

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