Tony Curzon Price

Economist, Writer

Tony Curzon Price is an economist and writer. He read PPE at Oxford and has a PhD, which focused on applications of game theory techniques to market design, from UCL. He founded Arithmatica, a Silicon IP company and became Editor in Chief at openDemocracy. He is currently the economic advisor to the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


Economic Advisor to the Secretary of State

Tony Curzon Price's Chineasy Story

In the mid-90s, I was sent to Chongqing to work at the Chongqing Environmental Institute on a project to find good ways to improve air quality in the city. My main collaborator was a very brilliant and charming woman engineer, Li Qin. We spent long hours pouring over lines of code and printouts of simulations of air dispersion over the city. Then, we’d finish late and find one of the many fabulously good restaurants in the city. One evening, Li Qin said she wanted me to suggest a western name for her, and I asked for the same. She found it very funny that I was an economist also called “Price”, so she chose for me what she said was the Chinese for “price” – jià gé. I thought it sounded enough like Jagger, the lead of the Rolling Stones, so adopted it with pleasure. I think I first chose Betty for Li Qin, but she was clearly unhappy with it, so we agreed on something else. I think perhaps it was Alice we ended with. No other country I’ve spent time in has asked to swap names like that – it seems to me a significant thing to do: I feel I have a claim to small piece of a Chinese identity.