This special issue of the Journal of Institutional Economics on the future of institutional and evolutionary economics consists of this introduction, four full essays, and two sizeable comments. Ménard and Shirley (2014) and Ménard (2014) discuss the future of the new institutional economics, and their two essays are followed by a reflection by Hodgson. Winter (2014) and Witt (2014) discuss the future of evolutionary economics, and their essays are followed by a comment by Stoelhorst. Here, we introduce these essays and comments by putting them in a broader historical perspective. In particular, we trace the common origins of modern institutional and evolutionary economics, particularly in the work of Veblen, as well as important additional influences such as Schumpeter and Simon. We highlight how the two approaches became disconnected, and signal the possibility of, and need for, re-establishing closer connections between them. Possible elements of a future overlapping research programme are outlined.