The deep transformations brought about by the progressive and steady commitment of Romanian economy to the market economy have determined, among others, the modification of the role and status of rural household in the economic activity. Rural household changed from a simple participant, constrained to act in a certain way under a centralised, equalising and levelling system during the communist period, to a participant that carries out its activity in a competing environment in which initiative, creativity and efficiency are defining elements. Based on field surveys conducted at national level, the present paper intends to identify the evolution of economic behaviours specific to rural households under the influence of agricultural policy measures in the period 1997-2000. The conclusions of this study reveal that in this period, most of rural households operated under a subsistence system, according to an economic rationality in which market economy mechanism are lacking. However, the economic picture is far from being a homogeneous one: the emergence of a nucleus of agricultural entrepreneurs, i.e. those who assume the risk of shifting from subsistence to competitive agriculture, those who are trying to turn the peasant household into a farm managed on the capitalist principles, has induced new economic behaviours in the rural communities.