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

Symmetric Non-Discrimination

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, May 5, 2019

I visited the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Great Barrington, MA a little over a week ago and met Jeffrey Tucker for my first time. He’s the editorial director there. We got talking about his early life in Lubbock, TX and he told me an interesting story about how his grandfather, to avoid discrimination against himself for a physical problem, started serving an underserved and probably discriminated-against community whose members didn’t care about this physical problem. So each sided acted to deal with people who were discriminated against (assuming his grandfather’s fear of discrimination was justified.)

Analysis and Commentary

A Question On Victims Of Communism Day 2019

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, makes the point that May 1 should be a day to honor victims of Communism. I agree.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Furman, Summers And Taxes

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Our goal should be a less intrusive, less oppressive government.

Analysis and Commentary

Update Of Carl Menger Bio

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A reader of The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics contacted me recently to point out the following.

moral compass
Analysis and Commentary

The Art Of Moral Self-Defense

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, April 28, 2019

I’m going with a friend to see Jordan Peterson speak in San Francisco on Thursday. This morning when I was surfing YouTube, I found a 4-minute segment in which he had an interaction with an audience member in Australia.

Analysis and Commentary

Senator Elizabeth Warren: Help The Relatively Rich By Taxing Everyone

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 27, 2019

Despite her best intentions and her description of the plan as progressive, a quick analysis finds Senator Elizabeth Warren proposal to be regressive, expensive, and full of uncertainties. 

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When Deregulation Really Took Off

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Airline deregulation remains one of the triumphs of sound economic thinking. But for a while it was touch and go . . .

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The Case Against Higher Taxes

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

“Deadweight loss” is just as bad as it sounds, just as inefficient, just as unfair.

Analysis and Commentary

Markets In Everything, San Francisco Toilet Edition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Last Saturday, I was up in San Francisco for an event and met my daughter for coffee first. After leaving her, I decided to walk along the ocean so that I would get my exercise and wouldn’t get to the event before it started.

Markets In Everything, San Francisco Toilet Edition

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Last Saturday, I was up in San Francisco for an event and met my daughter for coffee first. After leaving her, I decided to walk along the ocean so that I would get my exercise and wouldn’t get to the event before it started.

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