There is a specific field of economics that deals with the process of changing people's responses through incentives: Behavioural Economics.
study the effects of social, cognitive and emotional factors on the
economic decisions of individuals and institutions and the
consequences for market prices, returns and the resource allocation.
A recent issue of The Economist covers some of the current approaches used by governments to change individual behaviour:
Behavioural economists have found that all sorts of psychological or
neurological biases cause people to make choices that seem contrary to
their best interests. The idea of nudging is based on research that
shows it is possible to steer people towards better decisions by
presenting choices in different ways.
Some of the approaches, for instance used by the British Behavioural Insights Team, are merely ways of changing a message:
The Nudge Unit has been running dozens of experiments and the early
results have been promising*. In one trial, a letter sent to
non-payers of vehicle taxes was changed to use plainer English, along
the line of “pay your tax or lose your car”. In some cases the letter
was further personalised by including a photo of the car in question.
The rewritten letter alone doubled the number of people paying the
tax; the rewrite with the photo tripled it.
It's become a very fruitful area of research so would recommend taking your interest further.