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hypothesis a prediction derived from theoretical analysis that is couched in a form precise enough to be subjected to testing against empirical data. In economics, hypotheses are generated by a process of logical deduction from sets of initial assumptions about the behaviour of consumers, producers, etc., and are generally tested by collecting economic data and using statistical techniques to analyse them. This testing can lead to modification of the economic theory in the light of the new economic data or to abandonment of that theory in favour of an alternative theory that better explains the facts. See HYPOTHESIS TESTING.