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Imperator: Rome - Economy and Trade Rebuilt. An overview of how economy and trade work in Imperator: Rome! Although most of these changes happened in previous free updates, anyone who wants to dive back into Imperator will appreciate the changes.
The main economy interface

In Imperator, a country's economy revolves around the generation of Wealth gold income from pops and trade that are used for various expenses and investments. Used for everything from recruiting armies and maintaining Fortification.png forts to constructing buildings and adopting Invention.png 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 Top bar economy.png Economy screen.


A country's Treasury.png 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 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 Bankruptcy.png 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 Leader.png ruler's personal finances, even in monarchies; these two stores of wealth have distinct uses and are not generally interchangeable. If the ruler is Corruption.png 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:

  • National tax Tax, produced directly by Population.png pops in owned territories
  • Commerce value.png Commerce, generated by the movement of goods between provinces on Global state trade routes.png trade routes
  • Tribute income.png Tribute, paid by many types of Vassalized.png subject states

Generally speaking, the effects of Monthly wage modifier.png governor wages and the stacking effects of buildings means that the Country capital.png 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:

  • Wealth 0.008 gold, for Freemen freemen
  • Wealth 0.003 gold, for Tribesmen tribesmen
  • Wealth 0.022 gold, for Slaves slaves

As with all pop output, the base tax production of each pop is then multiplied by its Pop happy.png 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 slaves, who are fixed at 100% output efficiency regardless of happiness. After this, National tax National tax and Tax income.png 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 Population output pop output modifiers, with Slave output slave output modifiers being particularly important given that tax income usually comes predominantly from Slaves slaves; Tribesman output tribesman output can also have a significant effect for tribal countries or states that otherwise have a large number of Tribesmen tribesmen.

Some of the more important sources of National tax tax modifiers are listed below:

  • Territory modifiers:
    • +10% per Tax Office tax office
    • +10% for Holy Site.png holy sites
    • -50% for Blockade blockaded territories
  • Province modifiers:
    • +3% per governor Civic power.png finesse plus a base of +3% with the Policy bleed them dry.png Bleed Them Dry governor policy
    • +1% per governor Civic power.png finesse plus a base of +1% with the Policy acquisition of wealth.png Acquisition of Wealth governor policy
    • +2% for each Iron iron trade good in the province
  • Region modifiers:
    • -50% for regions without a Office governor
    • -25% for regions with a Position governor (as Monthly wage modifier.png wage), plus an additional -0.125% per governor Corruption.png corruption
    • -10% if the Position governor has the Miserly miserly trait
  • Country modifiers:
    • -50% with the Lax Taxes economic policy
    • +1.5% per Statesmanship statesmanship-adjusted Civic power.png finesse of the Office Steward (Monarchy office)
    • +1.5% per Statesmanship statesmanship-adjusted Military power.png martial of the Office Tribune of the Treasury (Republic office)
    • +2% per Statesmanship statesmanship-adjusted Civic power.png finesse of the Office Magistrate (Tribal office)
    • +5% with the Invention.png Property Tax (Civic power.png Civic Advances 0), Eisphora (Civic power.png Civic Advances 4), Liturgies (Civic power.png Civic Advances 9), Use of State Land (Civic power.png Civic Advances 14), and Import Tax inventions (Civic power.png 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 Change pantheon cost modifier.png pantheon deities
    • +10% per Omen.png 100% omen power for various omens
    • +10% if the Leader.png ruler has the Skeptical skeptical or Corrupt corrupt traits
    • -5% if the Leader.png ruler has the Selfish trait
    • -10% if the Leader.png ruler has the Pious pious or Miserly miserly traits
    • +0.5% per point of revanchism

Base tax[edit]

Every nation, regardless of its Population.png population or Local.png number of territories, has a base tax of National tax +2 gold per month, which can then be modified by National tax 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 value.png 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 Global state trade routes.png 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 National tax tax income, commerce income is not generated directly by pops, but indirectly through the Local base trade routes.png trade route production of Pop noble.png nobles and Citizens as well as the Goods from slaves.png trade good production of Slaves 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 Vassalized.png subject states pay a certain amount of Tribute income.png tribute income to their overlord, which for most subject types comes as a certain percentage of their Wealth 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 Tributary opinion of us.png subject opinion (and indirectly Subject loyalty.png 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.png 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.

Army Maintenance[edit]

See also: Army

In addition to the cost of recruitment, every raised cohort also has a monthly Army maintenance cost.png army maintenance cost that must be paid, with the base maintenance equal to 1/24 of the recruitment cost. Cohorts that are Loyalty gain chance.png 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.

Clan retinue.png Tribal retinues do not cost any maintenance to the state, with only their Clan chiefs.pngclan 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.png manpower.

Navy Maintenance[edit]

See also: Navy

Like armies, owned ships also have a monthly Navy maintenance cost.png 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.

Paying Tributes[edit]

Main article: Subject nations

All Vassalized.png subject nations have a Tribute income.png 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.png 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.

Fort Maintenance[edit]

See also: Fort

Every Fortification.png fort costs a base of Wealth 0.40 gold in Fort maintenance cost.png 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 Position government position in the country is paid a monthly Monthly wage modifier.png 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 wage modifier.png Monthly Wages for Characters modifier and individually per character by the Monthly wage on character modifier.png Monthly Wage modifier. Character Corruption.png corruption can significantly increase the wages that a character is paid out of the government's coffers - up to a Monthly wage on character modifier.png +250% wage modifier at Corruption.png 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 family 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 Wealth gold available for other uses but will rapidly increase Corruption.png 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 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 Corruption.png ruler corruption (which reduces Political influence.png 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[edit]

Economic Policies can be accessed in the Top bar economy.png 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.


Modifies income from National tax taxes. Taxes can be lowered to increase Pop happy.png overall happiness, or raised to increase Slave output slave output in return for Research points.png decreased research.

Policy Bonus Malus
Lax Taxation Pop happy.png +10% Population Happiness National tax -50% National Tax
Default Taxation No Effect No Effect
Harsh Taxation Slave output +12% National Slave Output Research points.png -20% Research Points


Modifies trade income from Commerce value.png commerce. The default policy gives bonus Global capital trade routes.png trade routes to the capital, while the other two policies may be useful if the country makes a lot of gold from either Import value importing or Export value exporting.

Policy Bonus Malus
Free Trade Export value +20% Export Value Import value -15% Import Value
Trading Permits Global capital trade routes.png +2 Capital Trade Routes None
Transaction Taxation Import value +20% Import Value Export value -15% Export Value


Modifies the tribute received from Vassalized.png subject states. More Tribute income.png tribute can be demanded in exchange for lower Tributary opinion of us.png 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.

Policy Bonus Malus
Lax Tribute Tributary opinion of us.png +50 Subject Opinion Tribute income.png -33% Tribute Income from Subjects
Default No Effect No Effect
Extortive Tributes Tribute income.png +25% Tribute Income from Subjects Tributary opinion of us.png -50 Subject Opinion

Army Maintenance[edit]

Modifies Army maintenance cost.png army maintenance cost in return for Morale.png 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 Starting experience army experience and Military experience.png military experience.

Policy Bonus Malus
Decreased Pay Army maintenance cost.png -20% Army Maintenance Cost Morale.png -80% Army Morale of Non-Clan Retinues
Normal Pay No Effect No Effect
Increased Pay Morale.png +5% Army Morale of Non-Clan Retinues Army maintenance cost.png +50% Army Maintenance Cost

Fleet Maintenance[edit]

Like army maintenance, modifies Navy maintenance cost.png navy maintenance cost in return for Morale.png 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.

Policy Bonus Malus
Decreased Pay Navy maintenance cost.png -50% Naval Maintenance Cost Morale.png -80% Naval Morale
Normal Pay No Effect No Effect
Increased Pay Morale.png +5% Naval Morale Navy maintenance cost.png +50% Naval Maintenance Cost

Fort Maintenance[edit]

Modifies Fort maintenance cost.png fort maintenance in return for Garrison garrison size and Fort defense 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.

Policy Bonus Malus
Ignored Garrisons Fort maintenance cost.png -25% Fort Maintenance Garrison -50% Garrison Size
Fort defense -50% Fort Defence
Paid Garrisons No Effect No Effect
Extortive Tributes Garrison +10% Garrison Size
Fort defense +10% Fort Defence
Fort maintenance cost.png +25% Fort Maintenance


Modifies Monthly wage modifier.png character wages in return for Corruption.png 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.png 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.

Policy Bonus Malus
Reduced Wages Monthly wage modifier.png -25% Monthly Wages for all Characters
Monthly wage on character modifier.png -25% Governor Wage
Corruption.png +0.25 Monthly Corruption
Normal Wages No Effect No Effect
Increased Wages Corruption.png -0.10 Monthly Corruption Monthly wage modifier.png +50% Monthly Wages for all Characters
Monthly wage on character modifier.png +50% Governor Wage


If a country's Treasury.png treasury becomes negative at any time, whether from a negative balance or from losing Wealth gold in an event, the country will be considered to be in Bankruptcy.png 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:

  • Loyalty gain chance.png +25% Cohort Loyalty Gain Chance
  • Political influence.png -50% Monthly Political Influence
  • Stability.png -0.20 Monthly Stability Change

While in deficit, a number of special events can trigger. Many of these events will give Wealth 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 points.png research, lower Global population growth.png population growth, or an Land morale.png army morale malus. Going into deficit while a Mercenary maintenance.png 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 (Land morale.png -10% Morale of Armies and Land morale recovery.png -5% Army Morale Recovery for Wealth 3 times the monthly income)
  • Deficit!, with a weight of 10 (Global population growth.png -0.02% National Population Growth for Wealth 3 times the monthly income)
  • Desperate Measures, with a weight of 10 (Stability.png -5 stability for Wealth 3 times the monthly income)
  • A Friend in Need..., with a weight of 10 (Character loyalty -10 Loyalty of Characters for Wealth 6 times the monthly income)
  • Tightening the Strings, with a weight of 10 (Research points.png -25% Research Points for Wealth 6 times the monthly income)
  • A Gift from the Gods, with a weight of 10 (Gain Wealth 6 times the monthly income)
  • Defection!, with a weight of 100 (Mercenary maintenance.png Mercenaries attempt to defect)
  • Mercenary Secession!, with a weight of 25 (Mercenary maintenance.png Mercenaries seize control of the local province)
  • Rebels Without a Cause, with a weight of 50 (Mercenary maintenance.png Mercenaries leave)
  • Nothing, with a weight of 100