Jean-Noël Senne presented his research project at the economic seminar in Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA) on the 24th of September 2019, joint with Marion Mercier, Lisa Chauvet, Flore Gubert and Sandrine Mesplé-Somps (IRD-DIAL, UMR LEDa, Université Paris Dauphine). Using unique individual data collected between 2009 and 2016 among council members elected in a representative sample of Malian localities, the project first studies the role of the migration experience in the emergence of local leaders. It particularly explores the higher propensity of migrant returnees to be elected as members of the municipality council. The second part of the project investigates whether these elected migrant returnees have a differential impact on local development, namely through the provision of public goods, the allocation of the municipality’s budget and the attractiveness for development projects.