Juanita Kerwin Williams, 70, a writer and researcher who specialized in government economic programs, died of peritonitis March 8 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Williams came to Washington in 1934 to work on a study of people leaving Appalachia and the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.Problems relating to the Depression remained one of her primary interests. In 1968, she published Grants in Aid Under the Public Works Administration," the PWA having been one of the major employers on public projects during the Depression.

Shortly after coming to Washington, Dr. Williams became chief researcher for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 1936, she published "Recent Federal City Regulations."

From 1937 to about 1940, she was associated with the Brookings Institution and helped prepare its "Report to the Select Committee to Investigate the Executive Agencies of Government."

In subsequent years, she contributed numerous articles to such professional journals as Public Management and the National Municipal Review. She also wrote occasional pieces for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Williams was born in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., and graduated from Douglass College there. She then went to Columbia University, where she earned a doctorate in public law and government. While there, she met her husband, Dr. Edward A. Williams, who was engaged in work similar to hers when the couple moved to Washington. Her husband died in the 1976.

Dr. Williams had been a member of the Foreign Student Service Council in Washington since 1967, and belonged to the Women's National Democratic Club, the American Political Science Association and Phi Beta Kappa.

Survivors include a son, Neil, of Arlington, and a sister, Katherine Faulkner of Houston, Tex.