In Imperator, a country's economy revolves around the generation of gold income from pops and trade that are used for various expenses and investments. Used for everything from recruiting armies and maintaining forts to constructing buildings and adopting inventions, gold is one of the most important resources in the game. Thus, managing and optimizing a country's economy is a critical part of building a strong, prosperous nation. An overview of the country's economy and balance, as well as the adjustment of economic policies, can be viewed in the the Economy screen.
- 1 Treasury
- 2 Income
- 3 Expenses
- 4 Economic Policies
- 5 Deficit
A country's treasury stores all of its currently accumulated wealth and is the main source of accessible gold; most events and actions deposits gold into or withdraws gold from the treasury. At the end of each month, the current balance between the country's income and expenses are automatically added or subtracted from the treasury. Most actions that cost gold, such as constructing buildings, adopting inventions, and completing mission tasks, have their costs deducted directly from the treasury and require the treasury to have enough gold to pay the cost outright. Thus, for more expensive items, it will often require saving up for months (if not years) to make the purchase or investment.
If the treasury becomes negative for any reason, the country will be considered to be in deficit. As there are many random events that can result in the loss of gold, or require gold expenditure from the treasury to avoid a worse outcome in some other field, it may be useful to keep a reserve of gold if the country is sufficiently unstable that going into deficit would be problematic.
While the ruler is paid a portion of the country's income each month, a country's treasury should be distinguished from the ruler's personal finances, even in monarchies; these two stores of wealth have distinct uses and are not generally interchangeable. If the ruler is corrupt, this can become a particularly serious problem as the ruler siphons a large proportion of the country's income into their personal coffers where the state cannot use it - it is entirely possible to have a wealthy ruler but a poor state, and vice versa.
The are three main sources of state income in Imperator:
- Tax, produced directly by pops in owned territories
- Commerce, generated by the movement of goods between provinces on trade routes
- Tribute, paid by many types of subject states
Generally speaking, the effects of governor wages and the stacking effects of buildings means that the capital region, and especially the capital province and territory, will produce a disproportionate portion of the country's income.
Tax income is paid by all pops of certain classes in the country, each producing a different amount of base monthly tax income:
As with all pop output, the base tax production of each pop is then multiplied by its happiness as a fraction out of 100%, which generally means that the tax income of pops is less than the base value. The exception is slaves, who are fixed at 100% output efficiency regardless of happiness. After this, National tax and Local tax modifiers are applied at the territory, province, region, and country level. As tax income is produced almost exclusively by pops, it is also affected by the various pop output modifiers, with slave output modifiers being particularly important given that tax income usually comes predominantly from slaves; tribesman output can also have a significant effect for tribal countries or states that otherwise have a large number of tribesmen.
- Territory modifiers:
- Province modifiers:
- Region modifiers:
- Country modifiers:
- -50% with the Lax Taxes economic policy
- +1.5% per statesmanship-adjusted finesse of the Steward (Monarchy office)
- +1.5% per statesmanship-adjusted martial of the Tribune of the Treasury (Republic office)
- +2% per statesmanship-adjusted finesse of the Magistrate (Tribal office)
- +5% with the Property Tax ( Civic Advances 0), Eisphora ( Civic Advances 4), Liturgies ( Civic Advances 9), Use of State Land ( Civic Advances 14), and Import Tax inventions ( Civic Advances 19)
- +5% with the Status Quo/Lex Aternia Tarpeia Republic law
- +10% with the For the Common Good Tribal law
- +10% for various pantheon deities
- +10% per 100% omen power for various omens
- +10% if the ruler has the skeptical or corrupt traits
- -5% if the ruler has the trait
- -10% if the ruler has the pious or miserly traits
- +0.5% per point of revanchism
Every nation, regardless of its population or number of territories, has a base tax of +2 gold per month, which can then be modified by national tax modifiers. This case tax is crucial for small nations' economies in the early game, but becomes largely irrelevant as the country expands and grows.
- Main article: Trade
Commerce income is produced by the import and export of trade goods from the provinces where they are produced and consumed, and unlike tax happens at the province level. Each trade route generates a certain amount of commerce income for both the importing and exporting province, with certain more valuable and exotic trade goods being worth more and foreign trade routes generating significantly more income for both sides (but especially the exporter). Each unused import route also produces a baseline amount of commerce income, though usually less than what using the slot for a trade route would produce. Commerce income is heavily tied to trade good production and unlike tax income is highly dependent on the ability and willingness of other countries to trade, and typically increases in importance throughout the game as the efficiency of trade good production increases and import ability of cities and provinces is expanded.
Unlike tax income, commerce income is not generated directly by pops, but indirectly through the trade route production of nobles and as well as the trade good production of slaves, and so is mostly accumulated from large cities with many import routes as well as areas with high trade good production and export potential.
- Main article: Subject nations
All subject states pay a certain amount of tribute income to their overlord, which for most subject types comes as a certain percentage of their income. The tribute paid can be changed by various modifiers, and in particular can be adjusted to be lighter or harsher using the associated economic policy, with a corresponding bonus or malus to subject opinion (and indirectly subject loyalty). Tributaries are particularly useful for accumulating tribute income as they are available to all countries and do not take up a diplomatic relations slot; because of the effects of base tax, it is generally better to have many smaller tributaries than a few large ones.
A state has many monthly expenses that must be paid, most relating to military or administrative manners. These expenses are automatically deducted from the income each month and only the balance (which may be negative) appears in the treasury. Monthly expenses must be paid, even if the treasury is already in debt.
- See also: Army
In addition to the cost of recruitment, every raised cohort also has a monthly army maintenance cost that must be paid, with the base maintenance equal to 1/24 of the recruitment cost. Cohorts that are loyal to a specific commander cost only 66% of their normal maintenance; armies that are led by a disloyal commander do not cost any maintenance at all.
Tribal retinues do not cost any maintenance to the state, with only their clan chiefs required to pay maintenance. This means that tribes are able to support much larger armies than their economic strength would otherwise indicate.
Mercenary upkeep also appears here, which is generally significantly more expensive than normal armies but do not cost manpower.
- See also: Navy
Like armies, owned ships also have a monthly navy maintenance cost, with the base maintenance cost equal to 1/48 of the recruitment cost. As with armies, disloyal fleets do not cost any maintenance, while mercenary fleets have a premium that make their upkeep more expensive.
- Main article: Subject nations
All subject nations have a tribute that must be paid to their overlord, which for most subject types is a certain proportion of their income depending on the exact subject type and can be modified by the tribute income modifier of the overlord. The tribute is always paid as long as the country is a subject, even at low loyalty. Note that the tribute paid is a proportion of the total income, not the overall balance.
- See also: Fort
Every fort costs a base of 0.50 gold in fort maintenance each month. Each fort level counts as its own fort, which means that building up large fortress cities is particularly expensive in maintenance. Disbanding fortresses in the interior of the country's territory, particularly if they are not protecting any important cities and are not realistically accessible (e.g. are not on a vulnerable coast), can be a useful way to save on expenses if fort maintenance is becoming too high. Conquering heavily divided areas where many small city states or tribes have built a capital province, particularly in Greece, can also be expensive if the many forts in the area are kept.
- See also: Position#Mechanics
Every character holding a government position in the country is paid a monthly wage, usually a percentage of the country's total income which is determined by the exact position the character holds (the only exception being governors, who are instead paid directly from their governorship and not from the central treasury). Character wages therefore scale with a country's size and always form a significant part of a country's expenses, with managing the number of generals and admirals being particularly important for larger empires who may have many armies and navies that they want to be led. Wages can be modified country-wide with the Monthly Wages for Characters modifier and individually per character by the Monthly Wage modifier. Character corruption can significantly increase the wages that a character is paid out of the government's coffers - up to a +250% wage modifier at 100 corruption - making it important to ensure that corruption does not become too endemic in the government (e.g. allowing "free hands"), lest the entirety of the country's income be drained by corrupt officials, leaving nothing for infrastructure or the military. On the other hand, members of grateful families (families that hold at least double the number of expected positions) will have their wages reduced by -20%.
Wages can be increased or decreased across the entire country through the wage economic policy, in addition to the default setting. Low wages can significantly increase the amount of gold available for other uses but will rapidly increase corruption across all of the country's office holders, which makes it infeasible for any significant length of time unless the country has very strong monthly corruption reduction modifiers as the costs of increased corruption will quickly surpass any savings from the policy. High wages, while potentially quite expensive, can be useful for wealthy countries that seek to reduce corruption without using a national idea or law slot and/or already have endemic corruption, so that the expenses from the policy will quickly be made up for by the decline in corruption. Notably, it is also the easiest way to decrease ruler corruption (which reduces political influence gain), particularly in monarchies which do not have access to a corruption reduction law and where a corrupt ruler may stay in power for many decades.
Economic Policies can be accessed in the economy screen and allow a country to control its income and spending on a country-wide level. Each policy is associated with a specific income or expenses category.
|Lax Taxation||+10% Population Happiness||-50% National Tax|
|Default Taxation||No Effect||No Effect|
|Harsh Taxation||+12% National Slave Output||-20% Research Points|
Modifies trade income from commerce. The default policy gives bonus trade routes to the capital, while the other two policies may be useful if the country makes a lot of gold from either importing or exporting.
|Free Trade||+20% Export Value||-15% Import Value|
|Trading Permits||+2 Capital Trade Routes||None|
|Transaction Taxation||+20% Import Value||-15% Export Value|
Modifies the tribute received from subject states. More tribute can be demanded in exchange for lower subject opinion if the overlord is strong enough to demand it, and vice versa if a country's subject states need to be appeased. Crucially, selecting "Lax Tribute" helps greatly in reaching the +190 opinion required to integrate eligible subjects.
|Lax Tribute||+50 Subject Opinion||-33% Tribute Income from Subjects|
|Default||No Effect||No Effect|
|Extortive Tributes||+25% Tribute Income from Subjects||-50 Subject Opinion|
Modifies army maintenance cost in return for army morale. Gold can be saved while at peace by decreasing pay when armies are not needed, while particularly rich countries can improve the quality of their armies by increasing pay. Note that the Decreased Pay option disables drilling for army experience and military experience.
|Decreased Pay||-20% Army Maintenance Cost||-80% Army Morale of Non-Clan Retinues|
|Normal Pay||No Effect||No Effect|
|Increased Pay||+5% Army Morale of Non-Clan Retinues||+50% Army Maintenance Cost|
Like army maintenance, modifies navy maintenance cost in return for navy morale, and can be used to save gold while at peace or to improve its fighting ability when at war, if higher pay can be afforded.
|Decreased Pay||-50% Naval Maintenance Cost||-80% Naval Morale|
|Normal Pay||No Effect||No Effect|
|Increased Pay||+5% Naval Morale||+50% Naval Maintenance Cost|
Modifies fort maintenance in return for garrison size and fort defense. Gold can be saved while at peace by decreasing fort maintenance when not needed - though this can leave border forts vulnerable to a sudden attack of declaration of war - while wealthier countries can improve the quality of their existing forts by improving their garrisons and fortifiations.
|Ignored Garrisons||-25% Fort Maintenance|| -50% Garrison Size |
-50% Fort Defence
|Paid Garrisons||No Effect||No Effect|
|Extortive Tributes|| +10% Garrison Size
+10% Fort Defence
|+25% Fort Maintenance|
Modifies character wages in return for corruption. Reducing wages can be used if gold is urgently needed, but is not viable in the long term as the increased wages from corruption will eventually far outstrip any savings from the wage reductions of the policies. Increasing wages is the most reliable way to reduce countrywide corruption and can be quite useful if the country can afford it.
|Reduced Wages|| -25% Monthly Wages for all Characters
-25% Governor Wage
|+0.25 Monthly Corruption|
|Normal Wages||No Effect||No Effect|
|Increased Wages||-0.10 Monthly Corruption|| +50% Monthly Wages for all Characters|
+50% Governor Wage
If a country's treasury becomes negative at any time, whether from a negative balance or from losing gold in an event, the country will be considered to be in deficit. A country that is in deficit will be unable to pay their soldiers and officials properly and destabilize the regime, giving the following modifiers:
While in deficit, a number of special events can trigger. Many of these events will give gold and may well help the country turn around its financial situation, but many of them come at a significant price, such as reduced research, lower population growth, or an army morale malus. Going into deficit while a mercenary army is employed is especially dangerous, as they may simply abandon the battlefield or attempt to offer their services to the opposing side, which can severely compromise a country's military situation, or even seize control over the local province as their 'payment'.
Out of the valid options, one of the following will occur each month as long as a country is in deficit:
- Bad Planning, with a weight of 10 ( -10% Morale of Armies and -5% Army Morale Recovery for 3 times the monthly income)
- Deficit!, with a weight of 10 ( -0.02% National Population Growth for 3 times the monthly income)
- Desperate Measures, with a weight of 10 ( -5 stability for 3 times the monthly income)
- A Friend in Need..., with a weight of 10 ( -10 Loyalty of Characters for 6 times the monthly income)
- Tightening the Strings, with a weight of 10 ( -25% Research Points for 6 times the monthly income)
- A Gift from the Gods, with a weight of 10 (Gain 6 times the monthly income)
- Defection!, with a weight of 100 ( Mercenaries attempt to defect)
- Mercenary Secession!, with a weight of 25 ( Mercenaries seize control of the local province)
- Rebels Without a Cause, with a weight of 50 ( Mercenaries leave)
- Nothing, with a weight of 100