This paper investigates the impact of regional migration on average wages and wage inequality in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). We exploit a unique data from a unified labour force household survey which covers natives and migrants in the seven economic capitals of the region. We estimate the counterfactual wage distributions of UEMOA migrants in absence of migration to evaluate the effect of regional migration. We find that regional migration increases the average wage by 1.8% and it entails a decrease in inequality in the UEMOA region between -1.5% (for the Gini coefficient) and -4.5% (for the interquartile ratio). The decrease in inequality in the UEMOA region is driven by a reduction in inequality between countries, while the migration effect on within-inequality differs across countries and remains overall small. When accounting for possible general equilibrium effects of migration on stayers’ wages, we find a similar or even stronger decrease in inequality, yet a smaller increase in the average wage. With general equilibrium effects, the effect on the average wage is smaller because UEMOA migrants tend to be (negatively-)intermediately selected (both at origin and destination) and depress the average wage of natives in their destination and lead to a slight increase of the average wage among natives in their sending countries, with the former effect dominating. Moreover, regional migration in the UEMOA mostly flows from countries with low wages to countries with higher wages. In combination with the general equilibrium effects described above this leads to a larger decrease in between-country inequality than in a setting with exogenous wages.
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