Harry G. Johnson, 53, an internationally noted economist and the Charles F. Grey professor of economics at the University of Chicago, died May 9 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was a visiting professor at the Institute of International Relations.

At various times, he had held joint appointments at the University of Chicago, the London School of Economics and the University of Geneva.

Born in Toronto, he was a graduate of the University of Toronto. He held additional academic degrees from Cambridge and Manchester universities in England and a doctorate from Harvard University.

Mr. Johnson specialized in economic theory and doctrine, concentrating on international economics, including monetary issues, tariffs and commercial policy, social policy and welare.

A prolific writer, he was the author of 19 books and more than 500 articles in scientific and related journals. He also edited 24 books in his field.

He had served as a visiting professor at Yale, Toronto, Northwester and Stanford universities and was a former editor of the Journal of Political Economy. He also was on the editiorial boards of the Review of Economic Studies and the Economic Journal, both published in Britain.

Mr. Johnson belonged to many organizations associated with economics and science in this country and abroad.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, of the home in Chicago, two daughters and a brother.