The economic utility theory, developed by Benabou and Tirole, is a concept in economics that focuses on individuals' decision-making processes and the utility they derive from various goods or services. According to this theory, individuals make choices based on their preferences, perceived value, and the trade-offs between different options. Economic utility represents the satisfaction or well-being individuals gain from consuming a particular good or service, and it helps explain why individuals make certain choices and allocate their resources accordingly.
Applying the economic utility theory to an online community involves understanding how individuals make choices and derive utility from their participation and interactions within the community. Users may engage in online communities based on their preferences, interests, and the value they perceive in the content, discussions, and connections. The concept of economic utility can help explain users' motivations to contribute, share knowledge, seek social connections, or pursue personal goals within the online community. Recognizing the economic utility individuals derive from participating in the community can guide community managers in designing engaging platforms, providing valuable content, and fostering a sense of belonging and satisfaction among members.