Influence is a way for factions to have or gain control over a star system. Many factions can share influence within a system. The first row in the system's faction list is the controlling faction for a system and always controls the controlling station, which is usually the biggest in the system. It is possible for players to increase influence of different parties.
The factions within a system all share the influence in percentages. Government types vary depending upon the ideas of each faction; there can be anarchy, dictatorship and prison colony amongst other forms and directly correlate on what the factions focus on, such as trading.
Each system is ruled by a "controlling faction" which is determined by whichever faction owns the "controlling station" (usually the biggest) in the system. The controlling faction also determines the system's economy state (economy type cannot change), its government type, and controls its system authority vessels.
Each faction is either listed as Independent or owes their allegiance to one of the three major factions: Federation, Empire, or Alliance. Faction allegiance is displayed under the respective minor faction on the Reputation pages (located under the Status tab) by name and icon, and by icon only under the System Status page.
The system's allegiance is directly connected to the controlling faction's loyalty.
There have been numerous speculations on how the influence works and is still being figured but it is a lot easier to lose influence with a faction than to gain it.
Population within a system does not directly correlate to the influence algorithm, but it should be some margin easier for low-population systems. The amount of missions available of a specific faction is directly tied to the influence the faction has within the system but will be balanced by the developers.
If a faction gets a majority within a system they have a chance of taking the system over given that certain thresholds are met during a civil war. One of the thresholds include that minor stations and outposts owned by the controlling faction will need to be taken over first before the system's controlling station can be taken over. Another threshold is that the controlling station needs to be one of the stations in a civil war. A civil war or elections as a peaceful alternative to war are the ways for a faction to become the controlling faction for a system. The winning faction will be changing, or remain, the system's global faction to what the faction supports and changing the ownership of the controlling station.
There have been various tests to see what works and what doesn't. Here's a list showing what generates influence with a specific faction. Trading might raise the influence more than missions given that the player has a large cargo. The missions on the Bulletin Board vary in effects by completing them, some missions with alternative routes may give the opposite results.
To increase a faction's influence players should focus on performing the following tasks:
- Completing missions for a faction,
- Trading with faction owned stations or outposts,
- Turning in bounty vouchers,
- Turning in combat bonds and,
- Selling exploration data,
For those wanting to get a minority faction into power there's a valid strategy to decrease the influence of the leading faction by performing any actions from the following list:
- Completing a mission's alternate option given through Unidentified Signal Sources
- Committing crimes decreases the influence of the minor faction controlling the system
- Destroying a minor faction's ships decreases the influence of that faction
Abandoning, timing out, or failing missions does not affect any faction's influence; however, failing missions that give you cargo will give a fine on non-completion.
Bounty Hunting within a system will reward influence to the controlling faction. This is good if you're attempting to strengthen the dominant faction within a system. However, if you're attempting to improve the influence of a smaller party this will prove to work against you.
A minor faction can only be in one active state at a time, but it can have several pending states. A system can have one or more active states due to the system containing one or more minor factions each having their own state. A pending state that has "critical" status will be the next state unless there is a rapid change in player activity.
Boom states start when there are increases in wealth and standard of living. While active it increases the wealth of the system and benefits of trade missions completed for the minor faction.
Generally a boom state will continue for 3 weeks or until its accrued "boom value" is spent.
"When in boom, the wealth of a system is increased for the duration and all trade missions have double the influence. Boom can also positively increase a minors faction's influence. Boom can be entered by consistent trade profits and completed trade contracts. Boom tends to last until they naturally expire or until some other indicator takes precedence, such as famine." 
The opposite of Boom.
Triggered by low level standard of living and development level. Decreases standard of living while active. Medicine trade missions are more effective, combat missions and actions provide no benefit to the minor faction.
Triggered by low security and development level for system. Increases security level while active and loses wealth for the same period. Bounty hunting for the minor faction has a greater impact.
"Lockdowns increase the security rating for a system but also have a negative effect on the system's wealth. Increased bounty hunting activity can shorten the lockdown period." 
Civil Unrest Edit
Is triggered on decreases of security and standard of living. While active it continues to lower security and standard of living for the system. All combat missions and actions for the minor faction are more effective.
Creating civil unrest can be done by importing prohibited items to a station.
Conflicts involve two factions competing for control of a station. The relationship between the two factions determines if the conflict is a war, civil war, or election. If the station the conflict is over is the system's controlling station, the conflict can change ownership of the system.
War is triggered by an invading minor faction reaching a high enough influence level. Decreases standard of living, wealth and security for the system while active. Influence changes only apply to the involved parties and are only applied from combat missions or actions. Conflict zones will be spawned throughout the system.
Civil War Edit
Triggered by changes in influence between competing minor factions or when a single minor faction reaches a high enough influence level. Standard of living and security level is decreased while this state is active. Generates Conflict Zones and only combat missions or actions provide any benefit to the minor faction.
Civil War can not be triggered by a faction with less than 5% influence in a system, however any minor faction above 5% can start a civil war with a minor faction below 5%. If a minor faction has greater than 70% of influence, a Civil War will automatically start between the minor faction and the controlling faction unless one of those factions is already engaged in a Civil War elsewhere.[nb 1]
After a civil war is triggered there is a cooldown of 3 days before another civil war can occur. Civil wars can only occur between two minor factions at a time. Additionally, a minor faction can only be engaged in a single Civil War at a time (i.e. a Civil War cannot break out in a system if one of the factions is already engaged in a Civil War elsewhere). Upon the conclusion of a civil war the most valuable space station is transferred from the losing minor faction to the winning minor faction and thus can cause the system's controlling minor faction to change.
Elections are a peaceful alternative to a civil war.
The factions involved are deciding which should become the controlling faction. This state may occur when a minor faction that is not the controlling power's influence raises to near the level of the controlling faction's influence.
"Elections occur when two minor factions of a similar political structure resolve a conflict over ownership and influence within a system." 
When a minor faction's influence reaches a high enough level they will enter a state of expansion. This state will decrease wealth while active and increase development level at the same time. The minor faction who obtained the expansion state will be added to the minor faction list of a nearby system.
"Expansion occurs when a minor faction reaches a sufficient influence rating and there is a populated system within striking distance. The act of expansion is a costly one, and the wealth and development rating suffers during the period of expansion." 
While the expansion state is active missions will begin to appear in a nearby system to allow the expanding faction to build their influence in the new system.
The opposite of expansion.
A starvation is on-going - see Famine for more details.
This state can occur in systems which community goal take place. The Investment state may make it so only donation missions are available from the mission board. Selling exploration data and doing the community goal can shorten the investment period. 
- ↑ A civil war will only be triggered if the factions are not in cooldown (3-25 days)
Change Log Edit
- Fixed some minor faction economic states so they once again affect influence levels
- Minor faction conflict states can now take precedence over economic states, which should fix many one sided conflicts
- Updated the minor faction state durations to give a much more dynamic galaxy
- Updated the minor faction state warmups, durations and cooldowns to give a much more dynamic galaxy
- Wars between non-controlling factions are allowed and will co-incide with scenarios generated by the controlling minor's state
- Support multiple conflicts within a given starsystem. However, one minor faction can still only be involved in a single conflict, no matter how many starsystems they're present in.
- Star system stability factors now affect rate of change of minor faction influence levels, making it harder to affect influence in systems with any of large populations, higher security, development level and standard of living.
- 'Recovering' minor faction state progress added to UI
- Retune influence and faction state bucket values from all player actions
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=71327&p=1526930&highlight=#post1526930
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?p=1455273#post1455273
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=11&p=1526005#post1526005
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&p=1532191&highlight=#post1532191
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&p=1532493&highlight=#post1532493
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=7&p=1522843#post1522843
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=4&p=1517533#post1517533
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=71327&page=75&p=1526898#post1526898
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=43&p=1692222#post1692222
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=71327&p=1592481&viewfull=1#post1592481
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=103448&page=2&p=1610363#post1610363
- ↑ Michael Brookes,https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=36&p=1641690#post1641690
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=48&p=1708279#post1708279
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=42&p=1691321#post1691321
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&p=1691696&viewfull=1#post1691696
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=35&p=1640171#post1640171
- ↑ https://community.elitedangerous.com/galnet/uid/561248da9657ba6f07f31fd4
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=40&p=1664775#post1664775
- ↑ GalNet News, https://community.elitedangerous.com/galnet/uid/560a4ee49657ba303058f74d
- ↑ Michael Brookes about civil war influence rules
- ↑ Elite: Dangerous Wings 1.2 Patch Notes
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=186969
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=71327&page=144&p=1665470#post1665470
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=40&p=1753928&viewfull=1#post1753928
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=52&p=1746447#post1746447
- ↑ Michael Brookes, https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97577&page=55&p=1755639#post1755639
- ↑ 78 Ursae Majoris left the Federation by an Election. Tour of Frontier Systems Set to Begin Shortly
- ↑ GalNet News, https://community.elitedangerous.com/galnet/uid/560cf1979657ba967258f74b
- ↑ GalNet News, https://community.elitedangerous.com/galnet/uid/560e4c439657bafe1746f4ee
- ↑ Thread: CQC Update (1.4) Beta Build Incoming