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Spontaneous orders are institutions that are the result of human action but not of human design. Although use of the concept extends well beyond scholars working within the Austrian tradition and outside the discipline of economics altogether, it has nevertheless become strongly associated with the Austrian School of economics due to the writings of F. A. Hayek and Carl Menger. Since there has arguably been little theoretical development of the concept since Hayek, we devote the main sections of this chapter to a discussion of the analysis of market institutions and processes expressed in the works of Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Hayek, focusing on their shared understanding of the institutional preconditions and benefits of voluntary social cooperation through market exchange.

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