He is the economist to read for the view that institutions, not geography, are of central importance in understanding prosperity. Hat tip to James Robinson as well.
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Does Acemoglu have a theory on how inclusive institutions are created from extractive ones? I read Why Nations Fail a while ago, and while I remember many examples of how extractive and inclusive institutions work, I can't remember where he had any work on how the latter come out of a situation where the former pre-existed (and they pre-exist quite frequently).