The paper presents time-series analyses of corporate profitability in seven leading developing countries (DCs) using the common methodology of the persistence of profitability (PP) studies and systematically compares the results with those for advanced countries (ACs). Surprisingly, both short and long-term persistence of profitability for DCs are found to be lower than those for ACs. The paper concentrates on economic explanations for these findings. It also reports the results on the persistence of the two components of profitability – output-capital ratios and profit margins. These too raise important general issues of economic interpretation for PP studies which are outlined.