Purpose - The purpose of this study is to propose an alternative basis for calculating cultural distance scores using Schwartz's cultural values.Design/methodology/approach - Cultural distance scores were calculated for 23 countries, based on the two most common measures of cultural difference (four cultural dimensions and Schwartz's 1994 culture level values), following Kogut and Singh's formula. Correlation analysis was used to assess the congruency between these two bases of cultural distance. In addition, their relationship with international trade figures was assessed, to understand how well each framework predicts the amount of trade between countries.Findings - Inter-country distances between 23 countries suggest that the two bases of cultural distance were not congruent. While the correlation between both cultural distance measures and international trade suggested a negative relationship, as expected, only cultural distance based on Schwartz's values was significantly related to international trade (p < 0.05). It would appear that, at least in a trade context, Schwartz's values may play a more significant role than do Hofstede's dimensions.Originality/value - To date, most cultural distance scores have been based on Hofstede's cultural dimensions. This paper provides the first analysis of cultural distance based on Schwartz's country level values. The paper shows that the two measures are not congruent and that, at least in the context of trade, cultural distance measures based on Schwartz's may be superior. Thus, researchers should carefully consider which cultural base is most appropriate for use in their study.