For more than two decades researchers have been interested in the effects of human capital on entrepreneurial success. Although most narrative reviews conclude that human capital is related to success there have been conflicting findings. It needs to be resolved whether the inconsistency in findings is a problem of individual studies, an effect of moderator variables, and whether an overall positive effect exists. We integrate and quantitatively summarise human capital research in entrepreneurship. We differentiate between task-related and non task-related human capital and between outcome (skills and knowledge) and proxy measures of human capital (e.g. years of experience). As contextual variables we examine the influence of industry (high versus low technology) and compare relationships in developed versus less developed countries.

Our study contributes to the literature by (1) meta-analytically determining the overall effect of human capital on success, (2) identifying conditions that moderate the relationship, and (3) comparing the validity of three influential approaches: Schooling, resource-based, and cognitive ability approaches.