In Civ V, one of the last social policies in Liberty is Representation, which reduces cities' impact on social policies by 33%. Is this retroactive though? Does it apply to cities founded before taking the policy or only ones after? What about in regards to policies? Does it refund the culture from earlier policies?
Representation does not refund culture points from earlier policies. The way it works is as quoted:
Representation applies to cities founded after taking the policy and does not apply to the ones before as mentioned beforehand, in other words the earlier you get the policy, the better it is for you!
If you want to know more about it, here's a link to a forum discussion regarding Representation in Civ V