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

The Life And Life And Life Of The NATO Bureaucracy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Partnership also prompted Foreign Affairs to publish an article strongly in favor of rapid NATO expansion.

Analysis and Commentary

Hummel On Modern Monetary Theory

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 1, 2019

If we focus solely on MMT’s [Modern Monetary Theory’s] essential claims about money, distinct from any associated policy proposals, it is neither new nor modern. It simply justifies funding government expenditures by issuing fiat money, which, of course, all economists have long been aware is possible. MMT then attempts to downplay the potential inflationary impact of such financing with manipulations of the government and central-bank balance sheets. But it merely puts the standard analysis into different boxes.

Interviews

David Henderson On Trumponomics, Deficits, And Immigration

interview with David R. Hendersonvia The Bob Zadek Show
Monday, April 1, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson discusses how “Trumponomics” is playing out in the economy, and analyzes whether the growth we have seen under Trump’s presidency is sustainable.

Analysis and Commentary

The Public Good Of Protection From Asteroids

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Tanis site, in short, did not span the first day of the impact: it probably recorded the first hour or so. This fact, if true, renders the site even more fabulous than previously thought. It is almost beyond credibility that a precise geological transcript of the most important sixty minutes of Earth’s history could still exist millions of years later—a sort of high-speed, high-­resolution video of the event recorded in fine layers of stone.

Analysis and Commentary

The Federal Minimum Wage Increase Hurt Many Low-Skilled Workers

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, March 29, 2019

We find that increases in the minimum wage significantly reduced the employment of low-skilled workers. By the second year following the $7.25 minimum wage’s implementation, we estimate that targeted individuals’ employment rates had fallen by 6.6 percentage points (9%) more in bound states than in unbound states. The implied elasticity of our target group’s employment with respect to the minimum wage is −1, which is large within the context of the existing literature.

Analysis and Commentary

The $60K Rafting Guide

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Like the students in Jared Lucas’s class, I have been thinking a lot about Bryan Caplan’s insights on schooling in The Case Against Education. I got to about page 120 and then my plane landed, but I read it the way I read every book I write a review on: every page and every footnote.

Analysis and Commentary

Stephen Moore's Deficient History Of Federal Reserve Policy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Over at Alt-M, Cato Institute monetary economist George Selgin writes: To conclude: despite what Stephen Moore has written, there’s no evidence that either Paul Volcker or any later Fed chair ever deliberately “linked Fed monetary policy to real-time changes in commodity prices.”

Policy InsightsFeatured

Policy Insights: Immigration Reform

featuring Edward Paul Lazear, Timothy Kane, David R. Henderson, Tom Church, John H. Cochrane , Lanhee J. Chen, Clint Bolick, Richard A. Epsteinvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Immigration is a contentious topic. To complicate it further, immigration should often be broken down into several distinct topics. It can mean legal or illegal immigration, it can mean permanent or temporary visas, and it can mean preventing future flows or managing existing stocks.

Analysis and Commentary

Richard Posner Is Wrong On Billy Budd

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, March 25, 2019

I just finished watching Django Unchained this weekend and I highly recommend it. One of the things that helped me enjoy it fully is the idea that anything a slave does to those who enslave him, even up to killing the enslavers and the enablers of the enslavers, is justified. That’s a view I’m quite comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable with it, you probably will not get the pleasure out of Django Unchained that I did.

Analysis and Commentary

The Chemistry Of Ethanol

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, March 24, 2019

As you know if you’ve followed ethanol in the last decade, the federal government requires a certain amount of ethanol in gasoline. Glen Whitman, a friend on Facebook, posted the following and gave me permission to post on EconLog.

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