Episode #13: Vicky Pryce - Economics as a vehicle for change

04 December 2018

Vicky Pryce

In this episode, I talk to Vicky Pryce, economist and commentator and previously Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Vicky is a prolific author, whose books include Greekonomics: The Euro Crisis and Why Politicians Don’t Get it”, “Prisonomics” and “Why Women Need Quotas”. She has also held a variety of positions – Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service, Partner at KPMG, Co-Founder and Chair of Good Corporation, as well as numerous academic and advisory posts.

In this interview we talk about how she began her journey when she left Greece at the age of 17 and began a rapid rise into the world of economics, and when she began to see how the field could make a positive impact on society. What she learned along the way, with some solid gold advice on how young people can progress quickly in their own chosen field. We talk about how she took opportunity from her high-profile adversity when she was imprisoned for taking speeding points for her then-government minister husband, and why she believes now that there should be quotas for women in business.

Vicky is thoughtful, sharply intelligent and articulate, and passionately committed to making a difference. This was one of my favourite interviews to date, and I’m sure you’ll get a lot of value from it.

Show notes

What did the world look like to the young Vicky as she left Greece at the age of 17 to move to London? (2:03)

What was it like growing up in the dictatorship in Greece? (5:24)

The challenges of studying economics at the LSE and making early protests (7:43)

Vicky’s early adventures in misleading Canadian tourists (10:40)

The first step into the world of work, why rapid advancement followed, and why smaller organisations can be a great place to start a career (11:40)

Vicky’s role as corporate economist for Exxon (16:34)

The move to KPMG as Chief Economist, and why it pushed Vicky towards practical real-world applications not just forecasts (21:34)

Why working for the public sector gave more opportunities for making a real impact on society (25:30)

Co-founding and chairing Good Corporation (27:56)

The path that led to publishing Vicky’s first book Greekonomics, and the astonishing reality of what has been happening in Greece in recent years (30:53)

What Vicky discovered was wrong with the womens’ prison system during her time inside that led to her book ‘Prisonomics’ (36:14)

How did the adversity of that time change Vicky’s character? (41:35)

Why does Vicky believe there should be quotas for women in business? (44:21)

Vicky’s personal purpose (50:21)

One single practical change Vicky would bring about before she hung up her gloves (50:32)

One piece of advice she would give to her younger self (50:42)

Who is an impressive change-maker Vicky has been inspired by? (50:55)

What mistake has Vicky made that led to some learning or personal growth? (51:55)

What habit would Vicky most want to change? (52:15)

What book, or books, have inspired Vicky’s thinking or her life? (52:51)

What advice would Vicky give to young people looking to be successful and also make an impact on the world? (53:21)


Vicky on twitter https://twitter.com/realVickyPryce

Vicky’s website http://www.vickypryce.com

Dr Fisher of Geneva or the Bomb Party, by Graham Greene https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dr-Fischer-Geneva-Vintage-Classics/dp/0099288494/