As a sometime student of immigrant economic behavior, the exodus of French academics to the U.S. is to be expected. Immigrant movement is primarily motivated by financial considerations – an attempt to improve the quality of one’s material life.
The French spend less than one half as much per student on higher education than do the Americans, and only 1.3 percent of their G.D.P. on universities versus 2.9 percent in the United States. American institutions pay higher salaries, and offer better facilities, and lower teaching loads, and so on.
It is true that of the four leading nationality groups of Europe — British, French, Germans and Russians – the French are the least prone to emigrate, perhaps because of heightened ethnocentric behavior. But love of country, language, culture and even fine indigenous wines only goes so far — if the enticements are big enough, even the French will move.