Since the 1980s, institutional change has become a matter of great interest as economists faced the necessity and the challenge to provide a theory of economic or cultural evolution. Their first reaction was to refer to biology, a field in which theories of evolution have reached a high degree of sophistication. This was all the more legitimate and relevant given that biology has been largely influenced by economics (Schweber 1977, 1980; Gordon 1991; Kresge and Wenar 1994; Depew and Weber 1995). Indeed, the influence of classical political economy on the views of one of the fathers of the modern theory of evolution, Charles Darwin, is widely admitted. Darwin borrowed from economists fundamental ideas such as spontaneous order and methodological individualism (from Adam Smith), the positive role of diversity and variety (from Charles Babbage) and the concept of the struggle for life (from Thomas Malthus). Therefore, the ideas promoted by the founding fathers of political economy, sometimes called “Darwinians before Darwin” (Hayek 1973, p. 23), have shaped Darwin's theory of biological evolution.