Like I did with Chinese macroeconomists, I wanted to look up the best european economists. I ended up reading a NY Times article about Olivier Blanchard from 2010 that implied all the top French economist academics have come to the United States, and the ones that stayed back have their talents underdeveloped by an inferior French research university system.
If that can be generalized beyond France, it may help explain why the same Europe that's so lauded by elite American social scientists for its social welfare programs has managed the global economic shocks so much worse than the US (and China?).
The relevant NY Times article: