We provide evidence that subsidy types that are identical in monetary terms differ in their behavioral responses and consequently in their effectiveness. In particular, we observe that investments into a subsidized asset are higher under tax credit than under grant. Both subsidy types are essentially very similar, only the mechanism of the subsidy application is different. In case of a grant, an individual gains an amount of money. In case of a tax credit, no money is received directly, but the tax to be paid is decreased by the amount of the tax credit. Our results indicate that these mechanisms have a substantial impact on the effectiveness of subsidies. Applying our findings, governments can "nudge" the investors to support desired investment decisions by using a certain subsidy type. Particularly, our results suggest that when policymakers are indifferent froma budget perspective between providing a subsidy as a grant or as a tax credit, they should implement a tax credit.
behavioral taxation subsidy risk-taking behavior prospect theory