Normal chain wear is often the result of friction between the rivet and I.D. of the barrel. Sprocket size and pitch angle will determine the relative motion between the parts, and the degree of wear.
Lubrication of these surfaces would lessen wear and slow the progress of corrosion.
Since lubrication significantly reduces the amount of wear to a chain, it would seem to be good economics to pre-lube chain at the point of manufacture and to lubricate that chain throughout its service life.