Theodore Herzl Levin, 77, a retired chief economist of the federal insurance administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, died of cardiorespiratory arrest Oct. 29 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Bethesda.

In addition to a career in government, Dr. Levin had taught economics at American University from 1947 to 1961. He also taught at Georgetown University and Baltimore City College.

Dr. Levin was born in Berwick, La. A graduate of Brooklyn College, he earned a doctorate in economics at American University.

He moved to the Washington area in the 1930s and worked for the Works Progress Administration.

During World War II, he worked for several wartime agencies, including the Office of Price Administration and the National War Labor Board.

He had spent three years with the Federal Power Commission before joining HUD in 1967. He retired from the government in 1978.

He was an officer of the Louis D. Brandeis District of the Zionist Organization of America and was coeditor of its newsletter at the time of his death.

He was a member of Temple Israel in Silver Spring and had taught Hebrew classes at Adas Israel Congregation.

He also was a member of the Earthquake Engineering Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers' water resources council.

Survivors include his wife, Frieda, of Bethesda; two daughters, Babette Levin of Potomac, and Sheila Wolf of Rockville; three brothers, Dr. S. Benedict, of Lake Waramaug, Conn., Carl, of Washington, and Meyer J., of Silver Spring, and four grandchildren.