National corporate-governance traditions are distinctive, deeply rooted, and difficult to change. Recent research points to a country's legal traditions and its stage of economic development as important determinants of corporate-governance institutions. Common-law countries tend to provide more explicit investor protections than civil-law countries. Richer countries tend to enforce corporate law more strictly. Broader and deeper financial markets emerge in the presence of strong investor protections, fostering more outside financing and better corporate financial performance. Corporate-governance systems also influence resident firms' capital structures and ownership structures. A broader perspective on corporate performance suggests that no country's system of corporate governance is without shortcomings, however.