David R. Henderson

Research Fellow

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

Is Hiring Jews Evidence Of Anti-Semitism?

by David R. Henderson
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

At first glance, the title of this post seems strange. How could hiring Jews be evidence of anti-Semitism? And yet that is where we are.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Support For Freedom Of Association Fanatical?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 11, 2017

In an article in which he makes a number of good points, on net defending a baker's decision not to bake a cake for a celebration that the baker objects to on religious grounds, Andrew Sullivan writes: And it is a hard case constitutionally. It pits religious and artistic freedom against civil equality and nondiscrimination. 

Analysis and Commentary

A Man Called Ove

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, December 10, 2017

I rarely recommend movies on EconLog but this is an exception. My wife and I saw A Man Called Ove last night and loved it. I would give it a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It's a familiar story line: a gruff old man (actually younger than me, though) who has a grudge against the world loosens up in response to a family with 2 delightful young daughters who move in next to him. 

Analysis and Commentary

Cutting Corporate Tax Rates In 2018 Or 2019: It Matters

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, December 7, 2017

The important effect of incentives on allocation over time. One of the differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax cut is whether the corporate tax rate falls in 2018 (House) or 2019 (Senate.) It might look as though it's no big deal. It might well be a big deal, partly economically and, deriving from the economics, partly politically.

Analysis and Commentary

Average Federal Tax Rates By Income Quintile

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A number of friends on Facebook have been discussing whether the federal tax system is "progressive." That word has emotive content--"progressive" seems good--but all it means is that the higher your income, the higher your tax rate.

Analysis and Commentary

The Inverse-Hirschman Scenario

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, December 4, 2017

I call attention to the Inverse-Hirschman scenario's twist for a specific historical reason. It basically describes another historical situation--this one in Charlottesville, Virginia in the spring of 1959, amidst ongoing court orders to desegregate.

Analysis and Commentary

Vladimir Kogan Replies On Sabotage

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vladimir Kogan, one of the co-authors of the study I recently criticized on Republicans "sabotaging" the implantation of Obamacare, wrote me on November 27. I replied to him on November 29 and he replied to my reply the same day. Given that the issues he raised are of more-general interest, I asked his consent to my posting our whole discussion on EconLog.

Analysis and Commentary

Risk Of Death For Border Patrol Agents

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Alex Nowrasteh has an excellent analysis of the risk of death of border patrol agents, something that has received a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks. Bottom line: the risk is very low. Alex finds that over the years 2003 to 2017, 33 agents died. That was out of 262,944 for a rate of 0.013%.

Analysis and Commentary

The Highs And Low Of Today's Wall Street Journal

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The November 29 issue of the Journal has some great editorials and one bad one. The Wall Street Journal's 3 editorial pages are 3 of my favorite pages of any newspaper.

Analysis and Commentary

Spot The Irony

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The following is from C.J. Ciaramella, "New York Prosecutors Gave Themselves $3.2 Million in Bonuses With Asset Forfeiture Funds," Reason Blog, November 28, 2017: The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in New York doled out $3.25 million in bonuses to prosecutors from its asset forfeiture fund since 2012, according to records obtained by Newsday through a Freedom of Information request.