Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson believe that a great deal about the economic, social, and political life of a country can be explained by the quality of political institutions, especially the degree of extractive exploitation they embody. Their book Why Nations Fail has been well-received in the popular press and Their blog posts supporting it seem, to a layman, compelling and persuasive.
How have their ideas been received by the historical profession? What have they published about extractive institutions in the specialist, peer-reviewed literature? How original are they and how much do they owe to prior thinkers? What about their reception by political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and other possibly relevant professional disciplines?
Obviously this question is somewhat open-ended, so answer or ignore as much as you like.