“Research shows that the bigger allowance you get from mom and dad,” explained Andrew M. Sum, director of Northeastern’s center, “the less likely you are to work.” [full article here, but you really don't need to read it--I didn't get past the first page] [Sum does a lot of excellent work on some important topics--I wonder if he regrets this particular soundbite]
M has been babysitting at least once a week, so she has her own money to spend on pizza and ice cream, presents, small things she wants, etc. (at 12, one's desires are easily satisfied by $4/hour). We continue to be ridiculously forgetful about allowance, forking over weeks at a time when one or another child remembers, and I believe the allowances are quite low anyway ($1/week for E; $3, or maybe now it's $4, for M). But I see us moving in the same direction as our current de facto situation: we give them money for what they need (bus fare, lunch, clothes), and they earn for what they want.