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Regional Migration and Wage Inequality in the West African Economic and Monetary Union

Author

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  • Girsberger, Esther Mirjam

    (University of Technology, Sydney)

  • Meango, Romuald

    (University of Oxford)

  • Rapoport, Hillel

    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

We investigate the impact of regional migration on average wages and on wage inequality in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). We exploit unique data from a unified labour force household survey which covers natives and migrants in the seven economic capitals of the region. We first estimate the counterfactual wage distributions of UEMOA migrants in absence of migration to evaluate the effect of regional migration when the effect of migration is purely compositional (i.e., when wages are treated as exogenous). We find that regional migration increases average wages by 1.8% and entails a decrease in inequality that ranges between -1.5% (for the Gini index) and -4.5% (for the interquartile ratio). This is essentially driven by a reduction in inequality between countries, while the effect of migration on within-country inequality is heterogeneous across countries and remains small overall. Second, when accounting for possible general equilibrium effects of migration on stayers' wages, we find similar to stronger effects on inequality, albeit with a smaller increase in average wages. The later result is due primarily to the fact that we now account for the predominant pattern of migrants' negative to intermediate self-selection, which tends to depress natives' wages at destination while only mildly affecting wages at home. The former result is due to the fact that regional migration in the UEMOA takes place mostly from low-wage to high-wage countries, which in combination with the general equilibrium effects described above, leads to a larger decrease in between-country inequality than in a setting with exogenous wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Girsberger, Esther Mirjam & Meango, Romuald & Rapoport, Hillel, 2018. "Regional Migration and Wage Inequality in the West African Economic and Monetary Union," IZA Discussion Papers 12048, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12048
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    Cited by:

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    3. Joseph-Simon Görlach & Katarina Kuske, 2022. "Temporary migration entails benefits, but also costs, for sending and receiving countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 503-503, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; West Africa; Gini Index; migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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