Corporate immunity to the COVID-19 pandemic

Wenzhi Ding, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

513 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluate the connection between corporate characteristics and the reaction of stock returns to COVID-19 cases using data on more than 6,700 firms across 61 economies. The pandemic-induced drop in stock returns was milder among firms with stronger pre-2020 finances (more cash and undrawn credit, less total and short-term debt, and larger profits), less exposure to COVID-19 through global supply chains and customer locations, more corporate social responsibility activities, and less entrenched executives. Furthermore, the stock returns of firms controlled by families (especially through direct holdings and with non-family managers), large corporations, and governments performed better, and those with greater ownership by hedge funds and other asset management companies performed worse. Stock markets positively price small amounts of managerial ownership but negatively price high levels of managerial ownership during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-830
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Financial Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Corporate governance
  • Corporate resilience
  • CSR
  • Financial risk
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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