Jose Tapia, PhD

Associate Professor

Jose Tapia, PhD

Office: MacAlister 3021-E
Phone: 215.895.6762

Curriculum Vitae: Download [PDF]


  • MBBCh, Medicine & Surgery, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 1981
  • MPH, Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1992
  • PhD, Economics, New School for Social Research, New York, 2002


I joined Drexel after spending eleven years as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to that, I lived and worked in New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Madrid. I worked briefly as a primary care doctor in Madrid, Spain (I was born in a Spanish colony in Africa). A job at the World Health Organization headquarters in Washington, D.C., brought me to the United States, where I have been living since 1989.

My research and teaching has focused on quantitative aspects of social science. One of my primary areas of interest has been the crises and fluctuations of the economy and the relation between these fluctuations and health conditions. I have published papers on the macroeconomic effects on health in Social Science & Medicine, International Journal of Epidemiology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annals of Applied Statistics, Demography, Journal of Health Economics, Salud Colectiva, and other journals. I have also been interested in purely economic issues. Examples of my work in this field include the book La Gran Recesión y el capitalismo del siglo XXI (coauthored with Rolando Astarita, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires), as well as papers on the dynamics of capital accumulation, the causes of the Great Recession, and other topics. I also have a strong interest in environmental issues, particularly climate change, as reflected in a book chapter on “Dynamics and Economic Aspects of Climate Change” and several papers in the journals Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, and Environmental Science and Policy.

I consider myself a social researcher and believe that social science is at a level of development where disciplinary boundaries are not very meaningful. Understanding social issues requires approaches from different perspectives, both quantitative and qualitative. I like teaching both undergraduates and graduate students, and I find it particularly enjoyable to lecture and get involved in class discussions on general socioeconomic issues as well as issues of population health and social development from an international perspective.

Besides research articles, I sometimes write journalistic pieces, usually in Spanish and generally on economic issues, though I also like to produce ramblings on music. I have often translated technical texts and sometimes poetry from other languages into Spanish. Three authors I have particularly enjoyed translating into Spanish are Primo Levi, Stephan Brecht, and Ondra Lysohorsky.