NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A weekly allowance can double as a daily bribe for children's chores. Or, it can simply be a show of appreciation, as well as a financial learning tool. However parents envision the weekly allowance, there's always the question of how much is appropriate. Enough to provide incentive and reward but not so much as to promote greed and entitlement.

A Harris Poll of 2,311 adults reveals the prevailing payouts in three age groups: ages 4-9, $4.10 per week; 10-13, $8.70; and 14-17, $16.00 weekly.

Half of Americans say they received an allowance when they were growing up, and among those with children ages four to 17, 60% say their children receive one.

The survey found that the younger the parents, the more generous the allowances. For all three age categories, Gen Y parents (ages 18-36) and Gen Xers (ages 37-48) are more generous in payouts. And Baby Boomers (ages 49-67) dole out a bit more than Matures (ages 68+):

  • For 4-9 year olds -- $5.10 Gen Y, $5.40 Gen X, $3.10 Baby Boomers, $2.00 Matures.
  • For 10-13 year olds -- $10.60, $10.10, $7.30 and $5.40, respectively.
  • For 14-17 year olds - $18.00, $18.80, $14.00 and $11.60, respectively.
    • For 4-9 year olds -- $4.70 men, $3.50 women.
    • For 10-13 year olds -- $9.90 men, $7.60 women.
    • For 14-17 year olds -- $17.90 men, $14.20 women.
  • Men are inclined to offer a weekly grant greater than women:

    Surprisingly, the research shows that household income bears little relationship with what parents say are appropriate allowance levels.

    A great majority of respondents (90%) believe an allowance is an important way for a child to learn about money, but the same number (90%) say that if a teenager wants to make money, he or she should get a job. Nearly as many (86%) say that children should only get an allowance when they earn it by doing chores.

    Additionally, nearly three-fourths believe that bad behavior should trigger a discount in a child's allowance in some way (74%) and that children shouldn't expect to get paid just for helping around the house (73%).

    That last point is an opinion strongly held among Baby Boomers and Matures (68% Gen Y, 69% Gen X, 77% Baby Boomers, 81% Matures).

    --Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet/p>