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

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Unpredictability Of Deregulation: The Case Of Airlines

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Some unlikely policy lessons from Jimmy Carter and Teddy Kennedy. 

Analysis and Commentary

Some Good News On Newspapers

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

I like newspapers. I grew up reading the Winnipeg Free Press regularly, from about age 11 on. From 1984, when my wife and I moved to the Monterey Peninsula, until about 3 years ago, I subscribed to the Monterey Herald. But I noticed that the newspaper was slimming down to almost nothing and the price, inflation-adjusted, was becoming quite steep. So I quit subscribing.

Analysis and Commentary

Tucker Carlson Is Wrong

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Instead we’re getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people, no one doubts that, but as an economic matter this is insane. It’s indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided." This is what Tucker Carlson of the Fox News Channel said on December 13 about some immigrants to the United States coming through our southern border.

Analysis and Commentary

Ain't A Dime's Worth Of Difference?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 17, 2018

There ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. This quote is attributed to the late George C. Wallace, governor of Alabama in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, and frequent candidate for President of the United States.

Analysis and Commentary

What Is The United States?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

In “Can anything hold back China’s economy?” Larry Summers makes a number of good points. By the way, his implicit answer to the question he raises in the title seems to be “No.”

Henderson Versus Leon Panetta On The Long War

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I posted in 2011 about my question to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a public forum and his response. I was telling Bob Murphy, who interviewed me for his podcast, about it and found, with a few keystrokes, the audio/video. For my question and his response, go to 43:41.

Analysis and Commentary

John Stossel Returns To His Roots

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 10, 2018

Long before he became a libertarian, John Stossel was a consumer reporter on the ABC News. His specialty was reporting on seedy companies. That’s what won him a lot of Emmies.

Analysis and Commentary

Branko Milonavic's Confusion On Inequality

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Branko Milonavic is one of the most prominent writers on economic inequality. So when he wrote a recent article on why he cares about inequality, I looked forward to reading it so that I would understand better why he cares. Disclosure: As long as pretty much everyone is doing better economically, I don’t care about inequality.

Analysis and Commentary

Karl Marx On Modern Retirement And As Early Julian Simon

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m enjoying David Warsh’s Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations immensely. I’ll be posting highlights over the next few days. Discussing Karl Marx’s ideas about socialism, Warsh writes: It was at this point in the argument that the arm-waving began in earnest.

Analysis and Commentary

David Warsh On Adam Smith

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

I’m reading and enjoying David Warsh’s Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations. I hadn’t read it when it came out, but I need to now to write the Paul Romer bio for The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Warsh, who was a long-time economics columnist for the Boston Globe, is an excellent writer. Not many people can write a 300+ page book about economic thinking that is a suspenseful page turner. Normally I hate suspense in non-fiction writing; I want the author to tell me the damn point in the first few pages. But Warsh has succeeded in keeping me reading.

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