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Meritocracy is a social policy in Civilization V. It is part of the Liberty tree and requires Citizenship.

Establishing a system where each member is rewarded for his work according to his or her real contributions and abilities, as opposed to a rigid system where rank and rules (and friendships and family connections) apply regardless of actual performance, is a powerful tool for enhancing happiness in a society.

Game Info[]

  • +1 20xHappiness5.png Happiness for each City you own 20xCityConnection5.png connected to the Capital Capital.
  • -5% Unhappiness (Civ5).png Unhappiness from 20xPopulation5.png Citizens in non-occupied Cities.


This is a strong long-term policy which works best after you expand your empire a bit. While it is costly to maintain roads, especially in a wide empire with lots of small cities, this can instead avoid spending gold and relying on trade deals for luxuries while aiding defence. As the unhappiness reduction is applied per 10 citizens and quite low at the start, consider adopting this policy as the one to complete the tree. Unless the empire is desperate for some 20xHappiness5.png Happiness due to rapid early expansion!

Contrast the Tradition-tree Monarchy policy, which only applies to the capital – but at the far greater unhappiness reduction of 1:2 instead of 10% from Meritocracy.

Civilopedia entry[]

A meritocracy is a system in which the most talented and worthy are assigned jobs and gain advancement in the government bureaucracy, rather than, say, those who are close personal friends of the current ruler (or congressman), or those from a certain tribe or caste or religion. Many long-lived governments swing back and forth between some form of meritocracy and some less sensible method of choosing those who run things. At first the officials are chosen for their ability, then over the years patronage or privilege creeps into the system and the government becomes increasingly inefficient and corrupt. Eventually things become so bad that the bureaucracy is jettisoned or reformed, and more meritorious officials are once again appointed. This pattern repeats itself until the sun explodes and all life is wiped off of the face of the planet.

Civilization V Social Policies [edit]
Tradition AristocracyLanded EliteLegalismMonarchyOligarchy
Liberty CitizenshipCollective RuleMeritocracyRepresentationRepublic
Honor DisciplineMilitary CasteMilitary TraditionProfessional ArmyWarrior Code
Piety Free ReligionMandate of HeavenOrganized ReligionReformationReligious ToleranceTheocracy
Patronage AestheticsConsulatesCultural DiplomacyEducated EliteMerchant ConfederacyPhilanthropyScholasticism
Commerce EntrepreneurshipMercantilismMercenary ArmyMerchant NavyNaval TraditionProtectionismTrade Unions Wagon Trains
Rationalism Free ThoughtHumanismScientific RevolutionSecularismSovereignty
Aesthetics Artistic GeniusCultural CentersCultural Exchange Fine ArtsFlourishing of the Arts
Exploration Maritime InfrastructureMerchant NavyNaval TraditionNavigation SchoolTreasure Fleets
Freedom Civil SocietyConstitutionDemocracyFree SpeechUniversal Suffrage
Autocracy FascismMilitarismPolice StatePopulismTotal War
Order CommunismNationalismPlanned EconomySocialismUnited Front