We investigate the effects of a pension reform on workers’ retirement expectations, controlling for pessimism during a recession. To assess whether individuals revise their expectations in the direction imposed by changes in legislation, we exploit the 2011 Italian pension reform. Using data from the 2010 and 2012 Survey of Household Income and Wealth, analyzed with both pooled OLS and fixed effects models, we find that the reform worsened workers’ expectations on replacement rate. Yet, this is not consistent with the tightening of age requirements in an NDC context. One explanation is that workers may not be fully aware of the mechanism of a defined contribution pension system.