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

Analysis and Commentary

The Mob Lost And The System Won

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

On June 12, I posted briefly about the efforts of Justin Wolfers and other economists to get Harald Uhlig fired from his position as editor of the Journal of Political Economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Henderson On Lockdowns And Deficits

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Sunday, July 5, 2020

Gerry Baker of the Wall Street Journal interviewed me last week and it showed on the Fox Business channel on Friday.

Analysis and Commentary

The Fantastic Unemployment Numbers!

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Friday, July 3, 2020

Possibly because of the long weekend and possibly because the unemployment numbers don’t make Donald Trump look bad, there hasn’t been as much commentary as I had expected on the June unemployment numbers.

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.
Analysis and Commentary

Happy Birthday, Thomas Sowell

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The one constant on display through all these topics is an irrepressible mind digging through the data in order to understand the complex reality underneath. His intellectual process, plus his ability to write quickly, have resulted in dozens of books and hundreds upon hundreds of newspaper columns that have helped many of us learn. 

Thomas Sowell in front of a black background with an Uncommon Knowledge mug
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Thomas Sowell, An Intellectual Giant

by David R. Henderson featuring Thomas Sowellvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

An American sage turns 90. 

Analysis and Commentary

Lester Grinspoon RIP

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Monday, June 29, 2020

On Thursday, June 25, Lester Grinspoon, M.D. died, one day after his 92nd birthday. This afternoon, I looked at my markups of two of his books, Marihuana Reconsidered, 2nd ed. 1977 and Cocaine: A Drug and Its Social Evolution, co-authored with James B. Bakalar.


Moralist Hazard? David Henderson, Research Fellow At Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

interview with David R. Hendersonvia Worlds Apart
Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson discusses the economic and human costs of lock-downs.

Analysis and Commentary

Best Recent Paragraph On Immigration Hassles

by David R. Hendersonvia Econlib
Friday, June 26, 2020
An aside: when describing the above, regular, non-emigrant citizens in the US never have the slightest familiarity with what I’m talking about. These indignities are instantly familiar to even the fanciest of us developed-world middle-class immigrants, but a perpetual surprise to citizens.
Analysis and Commentary

Does Restricting Immigration Necessarily Reduce Unemployment?

by David R. Hendersonvia EconLog
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Does restricting immigration necessarily reduce unemployment? In the long run, it doesn’t, as there is an infinite amount of work to be done. If you doubt that, think of another group that entered the labor force, a group that, from 1950 to 2000, was a more important entrant over that time than immigrants. The group is women.

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David Henderson On The John Batchelor Show

interview with David R. Hendersonvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow David Henderson discusses his Wall Street Journal article "The Data Are In: It’s Time for Major Reopening."