James R. Kearl (born May 27, 1947) is the Abraham O. Smoot Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University, and has been on the faculty at BYU since 1975. From 1986 to 1989, Kearl served as the dean of General Education and Honors at BYU. In 2007-2008, he was the director of the BYU Jerusalem Center. From 1983 to 1984 he served as a special assistant to the United States Secretary of Defense. After his time as dean of general education and honors, Kearl served as associate academic vice president of BYU from 1989 to 1991. From 1991 to 1994, Kearl served as a member of the United States Census Bureau Advisory Board on Population Statistics. Since 2005 Kearl has served as chair of the Food and Care Coalition's Board. Kearl is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as a stake president at BYU.
He holds a degree from Harvard Law School, where he was also a teaching fellow, and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his bachelor's degree from Utah State University.