Economic and political development are contextual. Nevertheless, there are some general elements in the process of institutional persistence and change. We present a framework that goes beyond the standard institutional analysis and adds the concepts of beliefs, leadership, and windows of opportunities in a dynamic process of change. Beliefs of the dominant network may lead countries to choose institutions that do not promote growth and prosperity, even in cases where those in power seek to pursue the common good. Leadership during windows of opportunity helps to determine when, how, and why beliefs change over time. Although each of these concepts alone is not novel in the literature, our major contribution is the evolutionary dynamic. To illustrate the framework, we flesh out the dynamics with a case study of Brazil from 1964 to 2016.