Hierarchy in social organization

S. V. Buldyrev, Nikolay Dokholyan, S. Erramilli, M. Hong, J. Y. Kim, G. Malescio, H. E. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We find that area and population distributions of nations follow an inverse power-law, as is known for cities, but with a different exponent. To interpret this result, we develop a growth model based on the geometrical properties of partitioning of the plane. The substantial agreement between the model and the actual nation distributions motivates the hypothesis that the distribution of aggregates of organisms is related to land partitioning. To test this hypothesis we follow the development of bacterial colonies of Escherichia coli, which, compared to humans, are on a completely different level of complexity. We find that the distributions of E. coli colonies follow an inverse power law with exponent similar to that of nations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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