Territorial Division: The Least-Time Constraint Behind the Formation of Subnational Boundaries

Science  29 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4289, pp. 523-524
DOI: 10.1126/science.196.4289.523


Nations usually locate their smaller administrative subdivisions in regions of highest population density. This report derives a precise form of the size-density relationship from the general assumption that social structures evolve in such a way as to minimize the total time expended by society in their operation. The result is confirmed empirically.