Faculty Directory

Student with Book and Laptop

Derek Yonai

O'Neil Center

Research Associate Professor

PhD, Economics, George Mason University, 2003
MA, Economics, George Mason University, 2001
JD, Whittier College School of Law, 1999
BA, Economics, University of California, Irvine, 1996

Crow 282C


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Derek K. Yonai is the Director of the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics and an Associate Professor of Business at Emporia State University. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and on the Research Advisory Council of the James Madison Institute.

Previously, Dr. Yonai was the Managing Director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom and a Research Associate Professor in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. He was also the Founding Director of the Center for Free Enterprise and an Associate Professor of Economics in the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College where he was responsible for developing and supervising Florida Southern’s free enterprise education and outreach programs.

He has given numerous radio interviews discussing the connection between economic freedom and human flourishing. He has also given radio interviews discussing a 2012 Supreme Court case dealing with the first sale doctrine of copyright law. He has been a guest on radio shows in North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, and Alaska.

Dr. Yonai has been recognized for his teaching earning the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award at Campbell University and the “Spirit of Inquiry Award” by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

He conducts research in the fields of legal history, law and economics, and religion and economics. He has written for both scholarly and popular outlets. His published research discusses the economic role of property rights and the law. His recent research focuses on economists’ inability to communicate their ideas to the general public. His popular writings deal with the importance of understanding economic principles, the importance of economic freedom, and how business, properly understood, is an inherently social endeavor.

From 2003 to 2013, Dr. Yonai was the Lundy Chair of the Philosophy of Business in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and an Adjunct Professor at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. While at Campbell he oversaw their free enterprise education programs and their economics program. He also taught the school of business’s signature course, Philosophy of Business, which introduces students to the morality of the free enterprise system.

Dr. Yonai earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of California at Irvine and graduated with honors from Whittier College School of Law. In addition, he earned a Master of Arts in economics and a Ph.D. from George Mason University.


Law & Economics
Economics & Culture

Recent publications

Yonai, D. K. (2016). “Conceptions of Property and Economic Development.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law, 5(2).

Yonai, D. K. (2016). “The Rime of the Neoclassical Economist: The economist's failure at spreading the passion of Capitalism.” In E. Younkins (Ed.), Capitalism and Commerce in Imaginative Literature: Perspectives on business in novels and plays. NY: Lexington Books.

Yonai, D. K., & Koch, C. (2015). “Religious Affiliation and Wealth.” In F. F. Wherry & G. Golson (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Yonai, D. K. (2014). “I’m a Lawyer, Not an Economist: A plea for plain language law and economics.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law, 3(4).

Yonai, D. K. (2007). "Conceptions of Property Rights and Norms." Constitutional Political Economy 18(3): 161-176.