This article introduces the special issue on climate adaptation and institutions. Economic accounts of climate adaptation have stressed its collective action nature and the limitations of standard economic approaches to the matter. Governance accounts, on their part, have shown that adaptation does not always happen when it is expected. Against this background, institutional economics has the potential to shed light on those societal processes and collective mechanisms leading to and shaping adaptation (or the absence of it). The selection of articles contributing to this special issue shows that climate adaptation can indeed be explored successfully through institutional economics, and that doing so fits well within the institutional economics agenda. Some recommendations for future research are provided at the end.