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

Is Joy Reid A Libertarian?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Or, at least, is Joy Reid someone who understands that there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

 
Analysis and Commentary

Whitehouse Is Right And Cruz Is Wrong

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The United States Joins OPEC. What does it tell you about Republican sincerity when supposedly “free market” Republicans are out supporting a cartel, and lose it when the cartel breaks and prices go down for consumers? As long as it’s fossil fuel interests, nothing else matters.

Analysis and Commentary

Ben Smith Is One Gutsy Guy

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

New York Times reporter Ben Smith interviewed his big boss, Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, and the Times ran the interview, along with an introduction, yesterday. The new story was titled “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.” You have to read it to believe it or, maybe, to disbelieve it.

Analysis and Commentary

Liberation Now!

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 13, 2020

Congress and the President quickly produced one of the most expensive spending bills in history, a bill that, tragically, will pay tens of millions of workers more to be unemployed than to work. The politicians claim that their spending is “stimulus,” but it’s not and it can’t be. A government cannot stimulate production that it has forbidden.

Analysis and Commentary

The VSL Quandary

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, April 12, 2020

Even the simplest cost-benefit analysis suggests that the US government should be willing to spend up to $65 trillion and lock down the country to avoid extra deaths. This is from Luigi Zingales, “Captured Western Governments Are Failing the Coronavirus Test,” published at promarket.org, March 13, 2020.

Analysis and Commentary

My Discovery Of The Power Of Friendly

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Saturday, April 11, 2020

I’ve greatly enjoyed the discussion, both by co-blogger Bryan Caplan and by the commenters, about Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I pulled the book off the web but haven’t read it.

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COVID V. Capitalism

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

With all the mistakes by government, one thing that’s working really well is the free market.

Analysis and Commentary

The Stark COVID Contrast Between Government And Free People

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Economists rarely get to run field experiments for the whole economy. And thank goodness for that, because field experiments can be very damaging. But the coronavirus that every American has been dealing with for the last month has given us as close to a field experiment as we’re ever likely to get.

Analysis and Commentary

QEII's Speech

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This past Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II made a 4-minute speech to the nation and to the British Commonwealth. It’s only 4 minutes but it was very moving. 

Analysis and Commentary

60 Minutes' Inspiring Show

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, April 6, 2020

I’ve posted before (here, for example) about various good segments on CBS’s longest-running news show, 60 Minutes.

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