An empire might be created by armies, but a strong economy is required in order to achieve stability. Income is made through the taxation of a province’s wealth and is then used to pay for the upkeep of your existing forces, to recruit new troops, and to construct new buildings. Each settlement has a certain amount of wealth produced by the buildings constructed there. The total wealth provided across all settlements within a province is referred to as provincial wealth. Wealth and all relevant bonuses to it are always province-wide. Wealth is turned into income through taxation, so if there is a normal tax rate and there are no other modifying factors present, all provincial wealth is income. This situation, however, rarely occurs.
There are different types of wealth:
* Agriculture (often produced by farms)
* Culture (often produced by temples and city centre buildings)
* Industry (often produced by industrial buildings and some ports)
* Livestock (often produced by cattle or sheep buildings)
* Local Commerce (often produced by city centre buildings and commercial ports)
* Maritime Commerce (exclusively produced by commercial ports)
* Subsistence (exclusively produced by main settlement buildings)
Any type of wealth can be produced by any building as it is not the building chain that determines the type produced, but the building itself. For example, the agricultural chain can produce both agriculture and livestock wealth. The type of wealth produced by a building can be seen by mousing over its icon and checking the information panel in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. An overview of the total wealth produced by a settlement can be seen by mousing over the wealth display on the province details panel.
Many buildings and technologies give bonuses to wealth. High-level buildings and late-game technologies give particularly significant boosts to a province’s wealth. Characters may also give wealth bonuses to any province they are in via their skills, traits, and ancillaries. Wealth bonuses provided by buildings increase the wealth production of all settlements within a province. Technology bonuses generally apply to all provinces within your empire. Wealth bonuses may apply either to wealth as a whole or be more specific and target only a single wealth type. These bonuses always apply to the whole province.
First and foremost, the amount of income from wealth depends on the tax rate. At the normal tax rate all wealth comes from taxes. At the lower tax rate you get 20% less income than at the normal tax rate, meaning if a province produces 100 wealth, 80 of that would be income. In the same way as wealth, tax rates can also be modified by characters or technologies. This means that a tax rate of -16% could be due to low taxes (-20%) and the presence of a character with a trait that increases your tax rate by +4%.
Slaves boost income at the cost of decreased public order. The greater the number of slaves present in a province, the higher the economic bonus given. They are a vital part of your labour force, enabling you to significantly boost your economy. However, dealing with them can be a double-edged sword, as enslaving enemy prisoners following battles, or capture of their settlements, can damage diplomatic relations with other factions of the same culture. Once captured, slaves are automatically distributed across your empire. If their numbers grow too large there may be dissent, which if left unchecked can eventually lead to a slave revolt.
As your empire grows and you gain more regions, your taxation becomes less efficient through corruption. Corruption is a percentage that is directly deducted from your tax income. The more settlements you own, the higher their level of corruption, thereby reducing the amount of tax received.