I have ranked the chair and members of the Council of Economic advisors, using number of academic citations from Ideas. The method includes you if you are one of the worlds top 5% most cited economist, and listed on Ideas, as suggested by Greg Mankiw.
The problem with the method is that it gives too much weights to recent times (there are more economists and journals now than there were in 1960, and thus more citations), and to the post-internet age. On the other hand if you were active 30 years ago you have more time to be cited.
The method is decent for the last 30 years or so, which is why I have limited the search to 1980.
By Chair, In order of most citations:
Laura D’Andrea Tyson 1993-1995 (Clinton)
Joseph Stiglitz 1995-1997 (Clinton)
Gregory Mankiw 2003-2005 (Bush W)
Janet Yellen 1997-1999 (Clinton)
Ben Bernanke 2005-2006 (Bush W)
Michael Boskin 1989-1993 (Bush H.W)
Martin Feldstein 1982-1984 (Reagan)
Glenn Hubbard 2001-2003 (Bush W)
Edward Lazear 2006-2009 (Bush W)
Harvey Rosen 2005 (Bush W)
Christina Romer 2009- (Obama)
Charles Schultze 1977-1981 (Carter)
Murray L. Weidenbaum 1981-1982 (Reagan)
Beryl W. Sprinkel 1985-1989 (Reagan)
Martin N. Baily 1999-2001 (Clinton)
By President, average:
1. Clinton 5902
2. Bush H.W 3869
3. Bush W 3609
4. Obama 1252
5. Reagan 1147
6. Carter 776
There are three interesting results:
Clinton did best, thanks to super-star Joseph Stiglitz (who was both a member and a chair).
The Bushes did quite well, thanks to a diverse range of heavy weight economists.
Obama’s councils is pretty weak in comparison to the others, ranking 11 out of 15.
In fairness Romer was refereeing to her staff, not the chair and members alone. Ranking Staff using Mankiw’s method has one big problem: very few of the staff are among the top 5% best economists in the world and included in Ideas list.
That is really not strange. I once asked Casey Mulligan why economists from the University of Chicago were not serving in the Council of Economic Advisors, and he answered that he believed no economist from the department would take the job. If you are one of the top 5% best researchers in the world you probably want to continue to do research, not work with policy (or at worse, politics). If you do join, the high(external)-status chair is one thing, being just a staff member another.
Anyway out of the Of the 20 economists on the list of Romer’s staff, only two, Christopher Carroll (1460 citations) and Andrew Metrick (488 citations) make the list of the worlds 5% most cited economists, which really is pretty good.
Of course would be bizare to claim it is the best in history. Previous staff members and Nobel winners Arrow, Solow and Tobin alone have 3476 citations. (which illustrates another problem of using IDEAS, since Arrow is one of the top 5 most important economists of this century and only does slightly better than respectable but hardly stellar Christopher Carroll).
Soon I will re-do this exercise and look at staff with Google Scholar instead of IDEAS, since the former has more intuitive results. In Google Scholar Arrow's top 10 papers/books have 32,481 citations, and Christopher Carroll 3,576. (If you are curious by this metric Greg Mankiw has 13,090 citations and Christina Romer 2,527).