This article addresses reviews research on corporate governance of the modern corporation around the world, with particular attention to the key variable of ownership structure. We first review the evolution of ownership studies from the early days of the Berle and Means to more contemporary research on how ownership has defined the various corporate governance systems around the world. We maintain that concentrated and family ownership structures in emerging economies, the role of the diverse type of large blockholders, and the evolution to more dispersed structures can help to inform broader questions around corporate governance and its relationship to economic development and the role of institutions in these economies. We propose that future research should draw on micro data on firm specific ownership structures and their corporate governance practices to better understand the cross-national diversity of governance and its meanings and consequences. We close by identifying some fruitful areas of future research.