Given notable fluctuations in the relevance of corporatist practices over time, the question is whether profound transformations in the profile of corporatism have accompanied these fluctuations. Based on data from 20 OECD countries, this paper examines whether and how corporatist wage regulation changed its profile in structures, policies, and performance from 1970 to 1996. The empirical evidence obtained from this analysis runs counter to the orthodox view of superior persistence and performance of classical (i.e. encompassing and centralized) structures of corporatism: non-classical ("lean") structures have gained in importance and have performed no worse than their classical counterpart. The paper concludes by discussing the implications these findings have for corporatist theory.