The aim of this article is to investigate how codes of good governance are legitimated in developed and emerging economies. The main theoretical explanation is that the legitimation follows a different path in the developed economies and in emerging ones. We collected data on codes of good governance for 58 countries at the end of 2008. Our analysis supports the view that all three pillars describe and explain different influences on the legitimacy of corporate governance throughout the world, but taken for granted institutionalization has just not been constituted, both in the developed and in emerging economies. The main limitation of this study is missing values, because some indicators which are based on World Bank data are missing for some countries. A disadvantage of these data, relative to the measures of culture, is that the Hofstede's data covers 50 countries, and includes transition economies and other legal systems. Globalization may have induced the adoption of some common corporate governance standards but that there is little evidence that these standards have been implemented. This is consistent with either the proposition that complementarities result in different national systems having different corporate governance systems that are appropriate, or the proposition that globalization is not strong enough to overcome local vested interests. Legitimation reasons seem to explain the adoption of good governance as regards regulatory, normative, and marginally cognitive pressures. Developed and emerging perspectives reason the need for the adoption of codes of good governance.