The difference in the level of development of successful and faltering regions has increased through the transition process of the former centrally planned economies. This has resulted in pervasive poverty, growing income disparities and rural-out-migration in many places. The diminishing and ageing rural population has increasing difficulties to maintain rural infrastructure and services. To overcome these challenges, the research in this domain follows two strands. The first looks at the decision-making behaviour of rural households with regard to employment, investment and consumption behaviour. The second approach involves studying the effects of interplay between state intervention and private initiatives and rural-urban linkages in terms of their relevance for rural people’s economic opportunities and quality of life. Aspects such as education, health and nutrition are considered as well.