Since I made a spreadsheet earlier that can express pop output in terms of a single worker type (Technician), I thought I would see WHEN and IF Social Welfare and Utopian Abundance makes sense to pick over Decent Conditions. I was always iffy on these and just picked Utopian Abundance for the challenge of providing all those goods to my pops while at the same time doing all the other things I needed to do to expand.

I will mention that this assume either only one species in the empire or all species being given the same rights. Additionally, I'll be assuming Fanatic Egalitarian (this affects things but not as much as you'd expect).

Step 1:

The workers that are treated as equivalent are Technician, Miner, Farmer, Artisan, Metallurgist, Culture Worker, Refiner, and Entertainer. The only shortcut I used is 10 energy per rare resource. A refiner actually produces for less than this both early and late game, but you might use directly produced, purchased, or refined ones when you use them so I just took this value as a compromise.

As will be important later, Clerk is excluded from these.

As an example of how this equivalency is determined:

The output of a Farmer is 6 and the output of a Technician is 4. Since these require no additional resources and have the same pop strata upkeep and building upkeep, Food Value = Technician Output / Farmer Output. This means (by multiplying both sides of the equation by Farmer output) that Farmer Output * Food Value = Technician Output. Simple enough.

For something more complicated, an artisan uses 6 minerals (Mineral Value = Technician Output / Miner Output) and requires 1.5 energy in building maintenance per Artisan OVER the building maintenance of technicians. 4 Energy per 2 Artisans and 1 Energy per 2 Technicians. The difference between an Artisan and technician in Pop Upkeep is 0.25 under Decent Conditions and – obviously – 0 under the other two Living Standards that will be checked.

Our formula is Consumer Good Value = (Technician Output + 6 * Technician Output / Miner Output + * Technician Output / Technician Output) / (Artisan Output – Pop Upkeep Difference)

Simplified one way: Consumer Good Value = Technician Output * (1 + 6 / Miner Output + / Technician Output) / (Artisan Output – Pop Upkeep Difference)

What you should see from that is we are expressing the output of a technician multiplied by the number of workers involved (bolded) in production at the top of the fraction… the divided by the overall output of the Artisan himself at the bottom.

Or simplified: Consumer Good Value = (Technician Output + 6 * Mineral Value + Building Upkeep Difference per Artisan) / (Artisan Output – Pop Upkeep Difference)

So as this should demonstrate, the "Resource" Value is a perfectly acceptable stand in for Technician Output / "Job" Output as was done with Mineral Value above. We get this formula for Research:

Research Value = (Technician Output + Consumer Good Value * (2 + Pop Upkeep Difference) + Building Upkeep Difference per Researcher) / Researcher Output

Alloy and Culture Worker work similarly.

The odd man out in these is the Entertainer who produces unity and amenities. At this point, we can assign a value to Unity from the Culture Worker:

Entertainer Amenity Output * Amenity Value + Entertainer Unity Output * Unity Value = (Technician Output + Consumer Good Value * (1 + Pop Upkeep Difference) + Building Upkeep Difference per Entertainer)

Amenity Value = (Technician Output + Consumer Good Value * (1 + Pop Upkeep Difference) + Building Upkeep Difference per Entertainer – Entertainer Unity Output * Unity Value) / Entertainer Amenity Output

Anyway, I hope I've established the method of comparing pop output in order to get all these different professions to be able to be expressed in terms of technician output or energy.

Why is this important?

If every worker's value is expressed in terms of one worker/resource, we can now accurately get a single number for the value of the happiness increase and subtract that from the value of the pop upkeep increase.

For example a rise of 10% overall happiness (above 50) leads to 6% stability and that 6% stability leads to 3.6% increase in resources produced. As all bonuses (with the odd exception of Thrifty/Charismatic traits) are additive, that 3.6% increase is applied to the base 4 energy output of a technician. This means that we don't necessarily need to know what our other happiness or stability modifiers will be, we just need to know how the political power and happiness bonus of each of the strata will affect stability.

Under social welfare, the output of every pop increases by 0.0588 (early game) and the upkeep of every worker increases by 0.25 consumer goods which will be valued differently before the switch and after due to increased efficiency with social welfare. This means that some ratio of ruler/specialist to workers may result in a positive value where the increased production is greater than increased consumption.

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Now, I will both compare early game (right off the bat basically) and late game (all non-repeatable techs applied and all tradition bonuses applied along with high happiness and most universally available bonuses applied – i.e. level 5 governor, % resource boosting buildings, etc).

Using 8 rulers to 100 pops (not entirely arbitary as that's what you'd see at 100 pops on a research world late game and it is approximately the ratio of rulers to other pops right at the game start), I got the following result:

Early Game: If you have less than 23 workers per 100 pops, then Social Welfare is better than Decent Conditions.

Late Game: If you have less than 22 workers per 100 pops, then Social Welfare is better than Decent Conditions.

This may or may not be realistic as the game progresses, but I'm not sure right now. What we can see is that the number is pretty constant throughout the game. For the record a 50/50 split is like -8.78 value per 100 pops in late game, that's like the output of 1 worker at this point. So if you wanted Social Welfare for any other reason, it isn't that much of a drop. On the other hand, Utopian Abundance doesn't pan out according to this criteria under any realistic situation.

Step 2:

Next, we need to see what value our unemployed pops would bring in. As they do not have production chains, this is as simple as multiplying Unemployed Output * Resource Value.

Then, we need something to compare them to… specifically Clerks. Clerk Output * Resource Value taking the values from is fairly low. Since we want to see if it's worth it to SWITCH to utopian abundance, we will compare Clerk and Technician before switching to Unemployed after switching. remember from step 1 that comparing to Technician is like comparing to every other job according to method I'm using.

Clerks and Technicians both outproduce unemployed Social Welfare pops in all cases so not going to bother showing anything for this.

Early game:

Technician – 4.23 output value

Clerk – 2.36 output value

Unemployed – 5.96 output value

Late game:

Technician – 9.25 output value

Clerk – 3.59 output value

Unemployed – 6.18 output value

Since the unemployed person isn't doing a job, the only bonuses he gets a couple unity bonus and his value more depends on the value of the goods he outputs.

As you can see here, at the beginning of the game, an Unemployed utopian pop is generating the most value, it isn't until around mid game that this changes. Throughout the entire game though, the unemployed utopian is generating a greater value than the clerk.

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However, you're still running a deficit from the increased upkeep. Using the starting setup of 2 rulers, 7 specialists, and 15 workers, your deficit is -18.11 energy. Doubling this leads to double the deficit, so we only need to know how many Unemployed Utopians to break the Deficit and we get a ratio that applies to all numbers.

Replacing technicians, we need > 10 pops out of 24 to be unemployed to make up this difference. This is not really that realistic of a ratio. If this was scale up to 100, we would need over 40 pops unemployed to be properly taking advantage of Utopian Abundance. This number gets larger until mid-game when most other workers will surpass the unemployed pop in value. Late game this is obviously very inefficient.

In other words, it's not quite realistic to switch to Utopian Abundance with the goal of replacing general pops.

However, the clerk produces abysmal value. You SHOULD take every reasonable step to avoid employing clerks, but a clerk is still better than no job at all under Decent Conditions. If you have unavoidable clerks for any reason, this is the time to consider Utopian Abundance.

Replacing Clerks in the early game, if you have > 5 clerks per 24 pops (> 19 for 100 pops), then switching to Utopian Abundance and firing all the clerks makes sense.

In the late game, if you have > 23 unavoidable clerks per 100 pops, then switching to Utopian Abundance and firing alll the clerks makes sense.

Conclusion:

Decent Conditions is a pretty good living standard most of the time.

Social Welfare works better the more Specialist heavy your economy is. It is better than Decent Conditions when you have under 22-23 workers per 100 pops depending on where you are in the game.

Utopian Abundance works better the more Clerk heavy your economy is. It is better than Decent Conditions when you have over 19-23 clerks per 100 pops depending on where you are in the game.

Both living standards are basically mutually exclusive in the situations where they are good. A specialist heavy economy that benefits from Social Welfare isn't going to have many clerks. A clerk heavy economy that benefits from Utopian Abundance is going to have far to many workers.

Anyway, I thought this was a somewhat interesting conclusion. Let me know if you think I made a mistake somewhere.