John H. Adler, 67, who was an economist on the staff of the World Bank from 1950 until his retirement in 1977, died Monday at George Washington University Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Chevy Chase.

At the time of his retirement, Mr. Adler was assistant to the vice president for finance. He had held various senior positions at the World Bank, including those of economic adviser, director of the Economic Development Institute and director of the programming and budgeting department.

Mr. Alder was born in Tachov, Czchoslovakia. He received a doctorate in law from the University of Prague. He came to this country in 1938 and earned a doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1941. He was an instructor at Yale and at Oberlin College.

In 1944-45, Mr. Adler was an economist with the Federal Reserve Board. He then was deputy chief of the finance division of the U.S. section of the Allied Commission for Austria in Vienna.

He was an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for three years before joining the World Bank here.He became at U.S. citizen in 1945.

Mr. Adler was the co-author of several books and the author of numerous articles in his field. He was a member of the Cosmos Club.

He is survived by his wife, Vilma, of Chevy Chase; two daughters, Marcia Adler of Chicago, and Catherine Ramsey of Uniondale, Long Island, N.Y., and one grandchild.