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Drawing upon the long established stream of agency theory literature, this research investigates the effect of corporate governance mechanisms on agency costs before the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, thus questioning the rationale and assumptions made in this legislation. Investigating domestic, manufacturing firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange, this research concludes that many governance controls long held to temper agency conflict did not do so in a pre-SOX environment. Therefore, it is incumbent upon researchers to determine what caused these mechanisms to fail before the passage of SOX. If researchers do not learn from the mistakes of the past and help business understand how they occurred, these mistakes will repeat themselves.