About UsAlejandro Ecker
Junior Professor of “Politics and Communication in Ibero-America”
Affiliation: Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies - HCIAS
Co-operation: Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute for Political Sciences
Tel:+49 (0)6221 54-19333
Alejandro Ecker is a political scientist and holds a PhD from the University of Vienna. He has studied political science and economics at the University of Mannheim and Johns Hopkins University. Since April 2021, Alejandro has been Assistant Professor in Politics and Communication in Ibero-America at the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS) and the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at Heidelberg University.
Before joining the HCIAS, Alejandro was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) between 2016 and 2020. He was also a Guest Professor at the Department of Government at the University of Vienna and Acting Professor at the Chair of Comparative Politics at the University of Mannheim in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Alejandro Ecker analyses political decision-making in Europe and Latin America in comparative perspective. His research focuses on the effect of political institutions on the behavior of multiparty governments, political parties, and individual politicians and their consequences for citizen behavior and voter attitudes. It combines observational data with experimental and machine learning methods to explore how elites and citizens interact and how political institutions shape these interactions. Alejandro’s current research projects deal with intra-party politics and multiparty governments, racist hate speech online and the consequences of political bargaining deadlock for citizen attitudes.
Research in Progress
Intra-party politics in multiparty governments (2019 – 2022): This research project exploits social network sites – most importantly Twitter – to construct a large-scale comparative data set on intra-party heterogeneity in parliamentary and presidential systems. Based on these unique data, it explores three sets of interrelated research questions. First, the project provides a cross-national comparative perspective on the effect of intra-party heterogeneity on government formation, portfolio allocation, and government termination. Second, the data likewise allow for investigating potential institutional and structural determinants of intra-party heterogeneity in democratic systems. Finally, the project contributes to research on the validity of measures based on social network sites by cross-validating the obtained measures of intra-party heterogeneity with alternative estimates retrieved from various other sources including parliamentary speeches, roll call votes, and survey data (among party elites and their rank and file). The project is funded by the German Research Foundation.
Identifying and classifying racist hate speech on social media (2020 – 2022): This collaborative research project with Marvin Brinkmann and Hartmut Wessler from the University of Mannheim analyses racist hate speech on social media. Racist comments, both by political elites and directed toward them, often attract media attention, but it is challenging to assess how widespread the phenomenon is and in which contexts it occurs. This project aims to develop a machine learning model to identify and classify racist hate speech in political contexts on social media to enhance our understanding of i) where racist language occurs, ii) whether it is influenced by users’ geographical context, and iii) how politicians and regular users interact in relation to racist language. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth as part of the DeZIM research network.
The Consequences of bargaining deadlock: General elections are decisive moments in European democracies. However, a government mandate for a single political party is the exception rather than the rule and the composition of the future government is determined by post-election bargaining between political parties, an often strenuous and protracted process. This research project broadens our understanding of the consequences of bargaining deadlock by exploring three sets of interrelated research questions. First, it investigates how bargaining deadlock affects citizen support for the political system and to what extent fast and smooth coalition talks provoke different reactions with regard to populist attitudes and individual party preferences than strenuous and protracted ones. Second, the project investigates how the media report on bargaining deadlock during government formation. Finally, the project contributes to experimental research on media effects by employing survey experiments to explore how media reports about post-election bargaining directly affect citizen attitudes and behavior. Seed funding for this project is provided by the MZES.
- Preferences on compromise and logrolling. Joint work with Carolina Plescia and Thomas Meyer on the preferences of voters for compromise and logrolling between parties during coalition negotiations. The analysis is based on an original survey experiment following the Dutch general elections in March 2021.
- Policy-making in multiparty governments. A collaborative effort with Hanna Bäck and Petra Schleiter on the effect Prime-Ministerial powers on policy-making in European multiparty governments. This manuscript explores whether strong Prime Ministers are able to implement their preferred welfare state policies and overrule the coalition compromise.
Recent Presentations and Media Contributions
Trust in the church and climate change denial. Insights from Latin America.
Latin American Studies Association virtual congress. May 5, 2022.
Gobiernos multipartidistas en perspectiva comparada.
Catholic University of Santa Fe, Argentina. July 7, 2022.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Alejandro Ecker
Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies - HCIAS
Brunnengasse 1 69117, Heidelberg
Tel: +49 (0)6221 54-19333
Office 4311.01.119, Bergheimer Straße 58a, 69115 Heidelberg