Jacques Rueff, 81, an economist who advocated a return to the gold standard as a cure for monetary instability and an adviser to the late President Charles de Gaulle, died Sunday at his home here.

Mr. Reuff was among the strongest defenders of the gold standard embodied in the now-defunct Bretton Woods monetary system that was set up after World War II.He also was a leading critic of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose views on deficit financing have dominated economic thinking in the United States and Britain since the 1930s.

He persuaded De Gaulle to being an offensive for a return to the gold standard in 1964. Although the effort to break American dominance in international monetary affairs failed to gain support outside France, Mr. Rueff's collected works were published by the American Economic Institute.

Mr. Rueff twice played a role in bolstering the French franc. The first time was in 1926, when he was an adviser to Finance Minister Raymond Poincare and the second time was in 1958 when De Gaulle came to power in France.

Mr. Rueff was diplomat, a deputy governor of the Bank of France, and president of the allied war reparations agency after World War II. He served for 10 years as a judge of the Court of Justice of the European Coal and Steel Community. He was a member of the French Academy.

He also was a poet and philosopher and the author of an opera-ballet.