The Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland—have attracted attention in recent years. Some elements of the Nordic model—particularly the welfare state—are well understood, but its governance characteristics remain elusive to the international audience. This article reviews Nordic governance and discusses its relevance as a development paradigm. The article quantitatively documents the existence of a Nordic governance model using data from the World Bank, Transparency International and other sources. Secondly, it is shown how Nordic corporate governance – Nordic civil law, concentrated ownership, semi two-tier board structures, employee representation and low-powered managerial incentives – has been shaped by the welfare state in ways consistent with systemic corporate governance theories. The article concludes with a skeptical discussion of the Nordic model as a development paradigm.