Thinking about Games

Category: Management & Microeconomics Brown Bag Seminar
When: 29 June 2023
, 12:30
 - 13:30
Where: RuW 4.201
Speaker: Julian Detemple

Title:  Thinking about Games

Abstract:  Previous research indicates that humans (subconsciously) construct mental representations of decision situations. This raises two questions in the realm of experimental and behavioral economics. First, does there exist variation in mental representations of abstract economic games across subjects? Second, to which extent do mental representations matter for research in these fields? Using a sample representative of the US population in terms of age, ethnicity, and gender, this paper measures mental representations in the dictator and trust game with both closed- and open-ended questions. The results show that there is economically meaningful and statistically significant variation in the mental representations of subjects. Moreover, although evidence on whether mental representations influence the link between game and self-reported outside behavior is inconclusive, mental representations influence game behavior and can explain the lack of framing effects in this study. Taken together, this paper highlights the importance of mental representations in behavioral and experimental research, warranting further investigation.