If the button is within a form, the default behavior is submit.
If the button is not within a form, it will do nothing.
BUT BE AWARE!
Always specify the type attribute for the button. The default type for Internet Explorer is "button", while in other browsers (and in the W3C specification) it is "submit".
Taken from http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_button.asp
Yes it default to the
type = submit|button|reset [CI]
This attribute declares the type of the button. Possible values:
submit: Creates a submit button. This is the default value.
So when the
button is inside a form it will submit it, when it's not inside a form, it still defaults to
submit but does nothing (since there's no form associated with it).
As raRaRa has pointed out below older versions of IE have the
button tag default type set to
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