Abstract: From time to time, observers argue that important facets of corporate governance are explicable only in path-dependent terms. Some buttress this claim with comparisons between U.S. and Japanese patterns of corporate governance. Using data that Kaplan has discussed in other contexts, we dispute the empirical foundation of this path-dependence claim. In fact, we find that U.S. and Japanese governance patterns are remarkably similar. We suggest that this similarity may imply that competitive product, capital and labor markets largely vitiate historically based idiosyncracies in governance.