Review of Managerial Science

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 411–442 | Cite as

A co-utility approach to the mesh economy: the crowd-based business model

  • Abeba Nigussie Turi
  • Josep Domingo-Ferrer
  • David Sánchez
  • Dritan Osmani
Original Paper


We explore the mesh economy applications of co-utility, a new concept describing self-enforcing and mutually beneficial interactions among self-interested agents. We show that the crowdsourcing market is naturally co-utile (without additional incentives). Furthermore, we analyze the investment crowdfunding industry and propose solutions that can neutralize the fear and mistrust effects underlying its market in order to make it strictly co-utile. Up on our analysis under the co-utility framework, we corroborate that collaboration is always rationally sustainable, as long as the system is co-utile and that all co-utile outcomes are Pareto-optimal; but not all Pareto-optimal outcomes are co-utile. In addition, reciprocity and hybridity equilibrium are compatible with co-utility in specific cases at which they provide Pareto-optimal outcomes. This methodology of analysis within the framework of co-utility can be extended beyond the crowd-based business models and promises to significantly contribute to economic theory.


Business model Co-utility Crowdsourcing Investment crowdfunding Mesh Economy 

JEL Classification

B41 C7 D81 M21 



Funding by the Templeton World Charity Foundation (Grant TWCF0095/AB60 “CO-UTILITY”) is gratefully acknowledged. Also, partial support to this work has been received from the Government of Catalonia (ICREA Acad`emia Prize to J. Domingo-Ferrer and Grant 2014 SGR 537), the Spanish Government (Projects TIN2011-27076-C03-01 “CO-PRIVACY”, TIN2014-57364-C2-1-R “SmartGlacis” and TIN2015-70054-REDC) and the European Commission (Projects H2020-644024 “CLARUS” and H2020-700540 “CANVAS”).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abeba Nigussie Turi
    • 1
  • Josep Domingo-Ferrer
    • 1
  • David Sánchez
    • 1
  • Dritan Osmani
    • 1
  1. 1.UNESCO Chair in Data Privacy, Department of Computer Engineering and MathematicsUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain

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