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International Economics Professor Isaiah Frank

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Isaiah Frank, 88, an authority on international trade long affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, died May 26 at his home in Washington. He had prostate cancer.

Since 1963, Dr. Frank had been the William L. Clayton professor of economics at SAIS. During his tenure, he wrote books, advised governments on trade policy and sat on panels that had influence over economic policy.

In 1970 and 1971, he was executive director of President Richard M. Nixon's Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy.

Led by former IBM Corp. president Albert L. Williams, the commission and its body of corporate executives made a comprehensive study of U.S. foreign trade and investment policies. The panel advocated free-trade policies over protectionism.

Isaiah Isserles Frank was a New York native and a 1936 graduate of the City College of New York, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. At Columbia University, he received a master's degree (1938) and a doctorate (1960), both in economics.

Early in his career, he taught at Amherst College and was an economic consultant to the War Production Board. During World War II, he served as a Washington-based senior economist with the Office of Strategic Services, a predecessor of the CIA.

He worked at the State Department from 1945 to 1963 and became deputy assistant secretary of state for economic affairs. From 1975 to 1992, he was chairman of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Investment.

Over the years, Dr. Frank was a consultant to U.S. federal agencies as well as the World Bank and the United Nations. He also served for 35 years as an adviser on international economic policy for the Committee for Economic Development, an organization of business and academic leaders, and for 20 years as an advisory committee member of the Institute for International Economics, a research group.

His books include "The European Common Market" (1961) and "Foreign Enterprise in Developing Countries" (1980).

He was a member of the Cosmos Club and attended chamber music concerts most weekends.

His wife of 63 years, Ruth Hershfield Frank, died in 2004.

Survivors include two sons, Robert Frank of Boston and Kenneth Frank of Philadelphia; two granddaughters; and a great-grandson.


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