Europe: Here’s an opportunity! Take it!

I frequently hear Europeans talk about how their economics departments are not as good as American departments. I have also heard that professors in American universities make insulting statements about European universities.

I strongly disagree! I find European economics professors to be far more knowledgeable about computational methods and far more open to their value in economics. American economics departments, with few exceptions, have chosen to ignore the past 30 years of developments in numerical analysis and computational architecture. If I want to have an intelligent conversations about numerical methods and economics, I almost always have to find a European economist or a mathematician. Many Europeans are pushing out the envelope in computational methods while Americans keep using their tired, old, and inefficient methods. The US-based computational economists I know are invited more often to lecture in Europe than in the US. I also know there are many European mathematicians willing to work with economists on computational research. Moreover, most of the best computational economists in the US are European by birth.

Europe, you have a golden opportunity! You have the human capital base, some of which is currently in the US, with which you could build up the best groups of economists using and developing numerical methods for economics problems. Other European economists would benefit from building up this core expertise. European macroeconomists are already favorably disposed towards numerically sophisticated methods and would welcome help in using new tools. Europe has several groups building CGE models to assess climate change policies; they would also benefit from building up European expertise in numerical methods.

Eventually even the American economics departments will realize the importance of using modern numerical methods, but that won’t happen for a long time. Here is a chance to gain a critical competitive advantage on the US. Are you going to take it?