Games as frames
We show that economic games per se can provide contextual cues and thereby impact behavior. In two laboratory experiments, we examine whether deliberating on trust games versus stag-hunt games without feedback changes cooperation behavior in a subsequent game. First, we find that subjects who play trust games without feedback hold more pessimistic beliefs about other players’ cooperation in a subsequent game than subjects who played stag-hunt games without feedback. We also observe that deliberation on trust games versus stag-hunt games accordingly affects behavior in a subsequent, unrelated game. While stag-hunt games align interests between players, trust games pose a conflict of interest between players. Such (mis-)alignments induced by the game potentially explain our findings, because they may offer cues that affect beliefs and behavior in subsequent games.