The mitigating role of blockchain-enabled supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic

Yangchun Xiong, Hugo K.S. Lam*, Ajay Kumar, Eric W.T. Ngai, Chunyu Xiu, Xinyue Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Although there have been considerable discussions on the business value of adopting blockchain in supply chains, it is unclear whether such blockchain-enabled supply chains (BESCs) can help firms mitigate the negative impact resulting from the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to answer this important question. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conduct an event study to quantify the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and compare the differences in such effects between treatment firms that have adopted BESCs and matched control firms that have not adopted BESCs. The authors also perform a regression analysis to examine how the role of BESCs in mitigating COVID-19's negative impact varies across firms with different levels of supply chain leanness and complexity. The analysis is based on 88 treatment firms and 88 matched control firms, all of which are publicly listed on the US stock markets. Findings: The test results suggest that although both the treatment and control firms are negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect is less negative for the treatment firms compared to the control firms, demonstrating the role of BESCs in mitigating the negative impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the mitigating role of BESCs is more pronounced for firms with lean and complex supply chains. Originality/value: This study is among the first to provide empirical evidence on the mitigating role of BESCs during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of adopting blockchain in supply chains with high uncertainties and disruption risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1521
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number9
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Guest Editors, especially Prof. Samuel Fosso Wamba, and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and useful suggestions, which help improve the quality of this paper. Lam acknowledges the support provided by the British Academy through the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SRG20\201061).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Abnormal stock returns
  • Blockchain
  • Contingency theory
  • COVID-19
  • Event study
  • Supply chain management

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